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Flights for Illegal Immigrants Back to Mexico End

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- The U.S. government is halting flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally in the deadly summer heat of Arizona's deserts.

It's a money-saving move, ending a seven-year experiment that cost American taxpayers nearly $100 million.

More than 125,000 people had been flown deep into Mexico for free since 2004.

The flights became a key piece of Border Patrol enforcement in Arizona as the agency moved to end its revolving-door policy of taking migrants to the nearest border crossing.

The Border Patrol hailed the flights as a way to discourage people from trying their luck again. But with arrests at 40-year lows and fresh evidence suggesting more people may be heading south of the border than north, officials have struggled to fill the planes.

They've also 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.


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