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Flights To Return Mexican Deportees To Interior Resume

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Flights To Return Mexican Deportees To Interior Resume

Flights To Return Mexican Deportees To Interior Resume

Immigration officials have resumed a program to fly Mexican deportees into the interior of the country. The first flight returned 133 people to Mexico City on Thursday.

The effort is known as the Interior Repatriation Inititiative. The idea is that if Mexican deportees are transported all the way back to their hometowns – rather than dropped off at the border – they will be less likely to try to return to the United States. 

"Having this framework will reduce recidivism and border violence by returning Mexican nationals to their cities of origin, where there is a higher likelihood that they will reintegrate themselves back into their communities, rather than fall victim to human trafficking or other crimes in Mexican border towns," read a statement released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday.

ICE piloted the initiative between October and December last year in collaboration with the Mexican government. Fronteras Desk reported last year that program returned 2,400 Mexicans by air at a cost of more than a million dollars.

In April, the Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement with Mexico to make the initiative permanent. Once in Mexico, the Mexican government will provide the deportees with transportation to their hometowns.

The flights will depart El Paso for Mexico City twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.