U.S. Border Patrol announced they will stop flying Mexican nationals they deport back to Mexico due to decrease in demand and as a money-saving move.
The program started in 2004 with more than 125,000 Mexican nationals returned. The chief motivation behind the program was to discourage immediate illegally reentry to the U.S., typically deportees were sent to the nearest Mexican border city.
The flights were from Tucson to Mexico City and were held during the summer months only.
As a result of border patrol arrests decreasing and arrest rates at a 40-year low many flights were empty. This summer there were not enough deportees to send on flights, so none were made. The U.S. government is calling this a suspension versus cancellation of the program.
The flight program, also known as “ICE Air”, cost the U.S. government $90.6 million over the seven years it was in existence, averaging $724 per person according to AP.