ICE Sending Illegal Aliens Home on Chartered Flights

By Susan Jones | July 14, 2011 | 9:28 AM EDT

From the Arizona Republic: The United States has resumed an 8-year-old program that flies undocumented immigrants, caught at the border, to Mexico City during the hot summer months as part of an effort to stem illegal immigration, thwart smuggling organizations and prevent migrant deaths.

The voluntary program, operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will run through Sept. 28 and is expected to cost $9 million to $11 million, said ICE spokesman Vincent Picard.

Under the program, undocumented immigrants from central and southern states are given the opportunity to fly on a chartered flight from Tucson to Mexico City, where they are given bus tickets to return to their hometowns. Ordinarily, detained Mexicans are simply returned through ports along the border, where many simply reconnect with smugglers and attempt to cross illegally again.

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