Saturday, September 23, 2023 6:23 am

Program flying migrants back to Mexico suspended

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents board a plane in Tucson for a flight to Mexico City in 2011 under the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program. Photo by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

There have been questions about the program’s effectiveness

By Bob Ortega

The Arizona Republic

The U.S. government has temporarily stopped a voluntary repatriation program to fly home undocumented Mexican immigrants caught trying to enter Arizona during the summer because there aren’t enough illegal border crossers to fill daily flights.

There have been no flights this year under the 8-year-old program designed to reduce immigrant deaths by dissuading Mexicans caught crossing the Arizona border from trying again in the fierce heat of summer.

Attempts to keep them going and justify the costs of the $100 million program by filling planes with deported criminals have apparently been blocked by the Mexican government, which didn’t want violent male offenders mixed in with women and children.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said they are still negotiating with the Mexican government to resume the program, though any agreement will likely be too late for any flights this year.



SB1070 immigration update: Arizona’s lasting impact/Bloomberg Labor and Employment Blog 

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September 2012