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Border patrol is no longer sending illegal immigrants home on a free ticket. For the past 7 years, the US government has sent Mexicans caught crossing the border back to their home country, aboard a plane, but that is over now.
Border patrol arrests have dropped drastically over the past year or two, making it even more difficult for the government agency to justify the cost of sending the immigrants back to Mexico. In addition, more and more people are going in the opposite direction to escape a faltering economy and there are no longer enough illegal immigrants to fill a plane.
Various options were proposed, but failed:
For Mexicans who have trudged through the desert to reach the US, in hopes of finding a job, the result of being arrested is now a choice between six months in jail or being bused to the nearest border town, something that has Mexico up in arms. Border cities south of the border are seeing an increase in crime as they are flooded with returning immigrants.
Since 2004, the MIRP has flown 125,164 illegal immigrants back home. The flights cost around $724 per person, for a grand total of $90.6 million in the seven years that the program has run.
The program may resume in the future, but for now, Mexicans are left with just two choices upon arrest.
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