Two American teenagers were arrested Wednesday night in Douglas after 23 undocumented immigrants were found in the trailer of a semi-truck that was pulled over for a traffic stop on State Route 80.
The teens, who are minors, have not been identified by U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) officials, but were taken into federal custody around 10 p.m., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). As of presstime Friday it’s unclear whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute the juveniles under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act or pursue charges against them as adults.
In the trailer, agents discovered 22 Mexican nationals and 1 Guatemalan national. The CBP statement makes no mention of how long the immigrants, whose ages ranged from 19 to 69, may have been in the trailer.
“One Mexican national in the group was processed for a history of extensive immigration violations,” CBP reported. “The remaining migrants were expelled from the United States via Title 42 authority.”
Title 42 of the U.S. Code provides CBP personnel authority to expel certain foreign nationals in order to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into the country. Portable processing stations are often utilized instead of admitting the persons into CBP facilities.
Those subject to an expulsion order “will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead will immediately be expelled to their country of last transit,” according to CBP. If the person cannot be quickly returned to the country of last transit, then CBP works to secure expulsion to the person’s country of origin, holding the person “for the shortest time possible.”
CBP is the largest agency within the Department of Homeland Security. The agency is charged with the management, control, and protection of America’s borders at and between official ports of entry, including enforcement of federal laws which facilitate the lawful trade and travel in and out of the United States.