US: No More Deportation Flights to Mexico
High costs shut down Border Patrol program
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Sep 10, 2012 7:15 AM CDT
Illegal immigrants prepare to enter a bus after being processed at Tucson Sector U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – The US Border Patrol is ditching a program that offered illegal Mexican immigrants a free ride home, having sent 125,000 people back to Mexico since 2004. While the agency called it effective, it was also expensive—to the tune of $100 million—and recently, there have been too few illegal immigrants arrested to make it worthwhile. "Everything comes down to dollars and cents," says a Border Patrol official. "We're running into a more budget-conscious society."

Right now, Border Patrol arrests are at their lowest in 40 years, the AP notes, and more people appear to be heading to Mexico than entering the US. The program, exclusive to Arizona, was intended to help save lives; many entering the US died while making their way through desert heat. And by taking migrants far into Mexico, it also aimed to reduce the likelihood of their return. While it won't come back this year, the program could be restarted in the future. In the meantime, however, the Border Patrol is using buses—and sending 70 people per day to a Tucson court for potential imprisonment.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Sep 11, 2012 7:30 AM CDT
All right a free trip to Cabo?
Sep 10, 2012 12:31 PM CDT
I'm guessing that putting them in prison will be more expensive then sending them back. Someone should do the math first.
Sep 10, 2012 11:20 AM CDT
Return them by ocean-going freighter, & drop them off in **Southern** Mexico. Let em walk home from there.