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Date published: 10/3/2012
SAN DIEGO--The U.S. government began flying Mexican deportees home Tuesday in a two-month experiment aimed at relieving Mexican border cities overwhelmed with people ordered to leave the United States.
The flights will run twice a week from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City until Nov. 29, at which time both governments will evaluate the results and decide whether to continue. The first flight left Tuesday with 131 Mexicans aboard.
The flights are not voluntary, unlike a previous effort from 2004 to 2011 to deport Mexicans arrested by the Border Patrol during Arizona's deadly summer heat.
The U.S. government will pay for the flights, and the Mexican government will pay to return people from Mexico City to their hometowns, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release.
ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Mexicans from that country's northern border states will not be eligible. The Mexican government did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The experiment comes as Mexican cities along the U.S. border are grappling with large numbers of deportees who have no roots, few employment prospects and sometimes limited Spanish. Many are deported to cities that are among the hardest hit by organized crime in Mexico, particularly across the border from Texas in the state of Tamaulipas.
"The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming part of criminal organizations as a means of survival," Gustavo Mohar, Mexico's interior undersecretary for population, migration and religious affairs, said in a statement released by ICE.