U.S. halts free flights home for illegal immigrants from Mexico
The U.S. government has halted flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally in the deadly summer heat of Arizona’s deserts, a money-saving move that ends a years-long experiment that cost taxpayers nearly $100 million.
More than 125,000 passengers were flown deep into Mexico for free since 2004 in an effort that initially faced skepticism from Mexican government officials and migrants, but was gradually embraced as a way to help get people back on their feet and save lives.
The Border Patrol hailed it as a way to discourage people from trying their luck again, and it appears to have kept many away — at least for a short time.
But with Border Patrol arrests at 40-year lows and fresh evidence suggesting more people may be heading south of the border than north, officials struggled to fill the planes and found the costs increasingly difficult to justify. Flights carrying up to 146 people were cut to once from twice daily last year.
And this summer, there haven’t been any.
“Everything comes down to dollars and cents,” said George Allen, assistant chief of the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector. “We’re running into a more budget-conscious society, especially with the government.”
Read more at Dallas News