U.S. Ceases Removal Flights to Mexico

For quite a while, Mexican immigrants who were being deported back to Mexico were put onto a jet, chartered by the United States government, and flown back to central Mexico. The cost of these flights was paid for in full with no cost to the immigrants who flew on them. The reasoning being that by flying the immigrants back, a thousand miles away from the border, it would be less likely for them to turn around and simply cross it once again in the extreme heat of the Sonora desert a dangerous and potentially lethal endeavor.

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However, the United States has completely ceased these plane trips in favor of the older procedure of busing immigrants back over the border. The primary reason for why they have halted the flights is because of the exorbitant cost. There has been talk about resuming the flights in a restructured manner that would reduce the total costs of the flights. Though they may run year-round in the new plan instead of just during the particularly hot summer months, the flights would have mixed passenger manifests including criminals alongside non-criminal families. The Mexican government is strongly opposed to this proposal of mixed flights, however, the prospect of a long bus ride through the desert is an unpleasant thought for some and some immigrants have indicated that they would not mind being transported alongside criminals provided there is security.

What used to be called deportation is now called removal. Really what removal means is that an immigrant is asked or told to leave the country because they are currently in the United States illegally. A person is considered to be in removal proceedings when they have been served a Notice to Appear which is basically a command to appear in immigration court. This notice can be served to immigrants who are already in custody in the United States or to non-criminal, but out of status immigrants. Upon the court date people are compelled to present their case and if they are ordered removed by the court they will be taken by ICE to the country of their origin.

Over the course of seven years the flights cost taxpayers $100 million dollars. This creates a very interesting paradox. Many citizens demand that illegal immigrants be deported immediately so that they do not deplete public welfare benefits and waste tax revenue on non-citizens, but there is a very significant amount of money being spent shipping these very people—who could be paying taxes—out  of the country!