EL PASO, Texas - After a shutdown of several months, a government deportation program to the Mexican interior starts back up here in El Paso.
ABC-7 was at the El Paso International Airport Thursday morning as dozens of undocumented immigrants were taken aboard a boeing 727.
The U.S. government now flies them to Mexico City instead of deporting them just across the border in Juarez. The point is to avoid leaving deportees in violent border regions and to discourage illegal re-entry into the country.
One by one, U.S. officials frisked the deportees before they boarded the plane.
Once they arrive in Mexico City, the Mexican government will pay for bus transportaion to take the deportees to their home towns.
The U.S. pays for the plane ride.
It started off as a pilot program last fall and resumed this year.
Officials say this decreases the chance the immigrants will be recruited by dangerous criminal organization and it'll be harder for them to try to illegally re-enter the country. If they have criminal charges in mexico, they'll also be investigated for possible prosecution.
"We just can't lose sight of the fact that we're talking about human beings. We have to ask ourselves the question: how are we going to treat human beings? The vast majority of these people are not criminals. That's a minority - the individuals who have been in the u.s and have committed some kind of serious crime," said Ruben Garcia, Annunciation House director.