Aug 23, 2009 7 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
MEXICO CITY â€“ The U.S. government has begun flying illegal migrants caught in the Arizona desert back to Mexico under a voluntary repatriation program.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department says the twice-daily Tucson-to-Mexico City flights began Friday. It said Sunday that the annual summer program will run through Sept. 28.
The U.S. federal government launched the program in summer 2004 after years of record-setting migrant deaths along the state’s border with Mexico.
Authorities say the goal is to save lives and discourage repeat crossings by transporting migrants closer to their homes in Mexico, instead of simply deporting them across the border.