For the past seven years, the United States government has offered a repatriation flight program that provided Mexican citizens who had illegally crossed the border between the United States and Mexico a free flight back to their home country. It was announced this week by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that the program will be coming to an end.
Even with the program, a majority of Mexican immigrants who are obtained by border patrol are returned to Mexico near the border. However, since 2004, roughly 125,000 illegal immigrants apprehended in Arizona were flown back to cities in Mexico's interior. The most recent of these flights took place during the summer of 2011.
One of the reasons for the program was to save the lives of immigrants, many of whom had crossed the desert into Arizona. Another reason was to discourage the detainees from attempting to cross into the country illegally again. The program has been criticized since its conception as an expensive way of pampering people who enter the country illegally.
Lateral repatriation is another form of repartition that is highly controversial. This involves busing immigrants detained in Arizona, New Mexico and California to the most dangerous areas along the border in Texas so they will be less likely to enter the United States again. This program is criticized as being both inhumane and overly expensive, but will remain in effect.
Repartition in general has been a problem for both border patrol and immigrant detainees. Border patrol is frustrated over the number of people who illegally cross the border multiple times as volunteering for repartition flights voluntarily meant detainees could usually avoid prosecution and long jail time. On the other hand, repartition often means being victimized by border criminals who prey on immigrants who were dropped off at the border.
Source: Examiner, "Border Patrol to end repatriation flights for Mexican immigrants," Luke Whitman, Sept .11, 2012
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