Desert Invasion - U.S.


Illegal immigrants flown free to Mexico

by Will Weissert, Associated Press Writer, July 12, 2004

MEXICO CITY -- Rest up. See the family. Then head north and try to slip back across the U.S. border.

Those were among the plans voiced by the first group of 138 undocumented [illegal] Mexican migrants flown at U.S. expense to their country's capital as part of a voluntary pilot program that began Monday. Usually, they are driven by American authorities back only to the border.

The costly initiative is designed to discourage repeat border crossings, but if the first plane load is any indication, many of those flown deep into Mexican territory will try to make it to American soil again.

"They caught me trying to cross three times, so I thought 'I should go home and wait for a time when security is not so strict,'" said Marcos Paldrino, a 24-year-old from Toluca in Mexico state, which borders Mexico City. "I'll try again in two months."...

The program began Monday and will feature two flights a day, taking up to 150 undocumented migrants to Mexico City and the western city of Guadalajara. From there, they will be given bus tickets to their home communities.

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