The United States government has recently stopped giving free flights home to immigrants who cross illegally into the country over the Mexican border without U.S. passports or green cards. The decision came at the end of a seven-year experiment that cost nearly $100 million.
In the first round of the program, individuals were taken on a one-way flight to Mexico City. However, Mexican border cities complained that the high numbers of deportees in the area contributed to increased crime and unemployment in the area.
Since 2004, more than 125,000 people were flown deep into Mexico in an attempt to help them get back on their feet in their own country. The Border Patrol believed it was a way to discourage individuals from re-crossing into the United States, and for a short time, the initiative was successful.
“Removing Mexican nationals to the interior of Mexico is part of an effort to reduce repeat attempts to illegally enter the United States, avoid the loss of human life and minimize the potential for exploitation of illegal migrants by human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as other organizations,” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed in a statement.
However, Border Patrol arrests are the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. Despite the humanitarian nature of the concept, officials were no longer able to fill planes and justify the high costs of doing so.
“Everything comes down to dollars and cents,” George Allen, assistant chief of the Border Patrol’s Tuscon sector, told The Associated Press. “We’re running into a more budget-conscious society, especially with the government.”
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