SAN DIEGO -- U.S. immigration authorities have begun flying deportees deep into Mexico in an effort to discourage them from trying to return.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the first of twice-weekly flights from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City left Thursday with 133 deportees aboard, all men.
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ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas says the flights will accommodate up to 136 men and women but no children. Deportees fly from throughout the United States to Chaparral, N.M., for a short bus ride to El Paso.
The flights are not voluntary, unlike a previous program to deport Mexicans arrested by the Border Patrol during Arizona's deadly summer heat.
Under a two-month trial last year, more than 2,300 Mexicans returned on 18 flights. The U.S. and Mexico agreed in April to make the arrangement permanent.