The United States is expelling migrants to Mexico far from where they are caught crossing the border, according to Reuters witnesses, in a move that circumvents the refusal of authorities in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas who stopped accepting the return of migrant families with younger children. The practice is a sign that President Joe Biden is toughening his approach to the growing humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexican border after his administration’s entreaties for Central American migrants to stay home have failed to stop thousands from heading north. Some families caught at the border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said in interviews they were flown to El Paso, Texas, after being held in custody just a few days. From there, they were escorted by US officials to the international bridge to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, around 800-miles (1,300 km) away from where they were first picked up by US border patrol agents. A Reuters photographer saw planes landing in El Paso this week that were loaded with dozens of migrant families with young children, including babies in diapers, and then saw the same families crossing the international bridge. Some passengers interviewed by Reuters once they crossed into Mexico said they had been awakened in their holding cells at night by border agents and not told where they were going as they were loaded on buses and taken to the airport. Landon Hutchens, a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman, said that due to a lack of capacity in the Rio Grande Valley, migrants have been sent to El Paso for processing, as well as Laredo, Texas, and San Diego, California. Gloria Chavez, the US Border Patrol chief for the El Paso Sector, said that El Paso had been receiving families from the Rio Grande Valley since March 8. Chavez said the priority was to expel them to Mexico, but that Mexico could only receive a limited amount of families from the region per day. She said some families were still being released to shelters in the United States. The shuttling of migrants to El Paso was first reported by the Dallas Morning News. While the United States has been expelling thousands of people crossing the border illegally, Tamaulipas, which sits across the border from Texas, has not been accepting families returning with younger children, presenting a conundrum for the Biden administration. US authorities have been releasing hundreds of families to shelters and giving them notices to appear in immigration court to reduce overcrowding at border facilities.