A new secret charter flight landed in Harrisburg Monday afternoon carrying adult illegal immigrants, not children, despite assurances from Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro that the transport of illegal immigrants to Pennsylvania involved only unaccompanied alien children.
Former mayor and Congressman Lou Barletta was provided photographs by eyewitnesses showing that buses met the airplane at Harrisburg International Airport and carried the adult illegal immigrants to the former Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility near Philipsburg, which is now being used as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center.
FlightAware.com screenshot with charter flight confirmation
GEO Group buses transported illegal immigrants from Harrisburg International Airport
to an ICE detention center near Philipsburg
As he did on December 23, 2021, when news of the initial wave of flights carrying minors surfaced, Barletta has written a letter to Wolf and Shapiro demanding answers. Previously, Wolf and Shapiro had claimed to have no role in protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians because immigration is primarily a federal issue. “My earlier letter involved a number of charter flights discovered to have landed in Pennsylvania, which both your offices and representatives of the federal government subsequently characterized as carrying unaccompanied alien children (UACs) who were to be reunited with family or sponsors,” Barletta wrote to Wolf and Shapiro regarding the most recently discovered flight. “These are not children, as you had previously led the public to believe. They are adults, which present an entirely new set of issues and questions for you both.” Even though illegal immigration is primary a federal issue, Barletta reminded Wolf and Shapiro that protecting the people of Pennsylvania is very much in their own job descriptions. “As the chief executive of the Commonwealth and the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth, respectively, you each have the duty to diligently protect our citizens and keep them informed of developments such as this,” Barletta wrote. “[I]t is disturbing to think that you purposely characterized all flights of illegal immigrants into Pennsylvania as carrying children, when surely you had knowledge that planes carrying adults were part of the Biden administration strategy for clearing the overflowing detention centers near the border. If you did not have knowledge of that, then it is an even more serious problem that you appear to be unconcerned about what the federal government is doing right here in our own Commonwealth.” Barletta posed a series of questions to Wolf and Shapiro to which he expects answers: 1) Were you aware of this flight of adult illegal immigrants into Harrisburg? 2) Were you aware that they would be transported to an ICE detention center near Philipsburg? 3) Why did you mislead the people of Pennsylvania into believing that such flights contained only children? 4) Are you aware of the COVID-19 status of the adult illegal immigrants who are now detained in Pennsylvania? 5) Were criminal background investigations on the adult illegal immigrants conducted and what were the results? 6) Have the adult illegal immigrants been assigned immigration court dates, and will they be kept in Pennsylvania until that time? 7) Following their court dates, will the adult illegal immigrants be released into the Pennsylvania population? 8) How many adult illegal immigrants have arrived in Pennsylvania in recent months? 9) Are you aware of any future flights already planned? 10) Have you at any time consulted with the federal government about any of these flights? 11) Have you at any time consulted with local officials in Philipsburg or Clearfield County? Read the entire letter here.