The first undocumented immigrants were returned to Honduras from the U.S. detention facility in New Mexico on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said.
About 40 Hondurans, including children, were bused to the Roswell, New Mexico, airport Monday morning from a federal law enforcement training facility at Artesia that was converted last month to house about 400 Central American women and children.
Homeland Security officials told NBC News the flight was just the "initial wave" of deportations, with one saying, "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks." U.S. immigration officials say the influx of women and children from the Central American countries has spiked in recent months, fueled by false rumors of a June "deadline" under which they could stay in the U.S. legally. The prospect of deporting children back to their dangerous homelands has galvanized immigration activists.