In an attempt to discourage deportees from trying to re-enter the United States by illegally crossing the US-Mexico border, US immigration authorities will begin flying Mexican deportees to Mexico City.  The Associated Press reported on Friday that the first of the twice-weekly flights left on Thursday from El Paso, Texas, to transfer 133 men to the disposition of Mexican authorities, who under an agreement with the United States will provide for the deportees' transportation to their hometowns.  A total of 6,800 people are slated to be returned to Mexico under the Interior Repatriation Initiative, which after a test run last fall will now become a permanent program.

US immigration often flies home deportees from Central American countries, but in the case of Mexico, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had typically transported nationals by bus or plane to Tijuana and other cities along the border.  Organized crime had long preyed on them, with lookouts alerting cartels from the time new arrivals set foot on Mexican soil.  Cartels frequently hold deportees for ransom, force them to work for them, and sometimes torture and make them "disappear".  A priest who runs migrant shelters in Matamoros and Reynosa, Father Francisco Gallardo, told the Los Angeles Times in September 2012 that "Deporting people here is like sending them into a trap ... to be hunted down." 

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Although the border regions absorb the vast majority of deported migrants - Tijuana alone, a city of about 3 million, averages about 100,000 a year, while the state of Baja California took in more than a third of the 400,000 people expelled from the US last year - they are far from the biggest senders of people into the United States.  That title would go to nine states in the center-west part of Mexico: Aguascalientes, Colima, Durango, Nayarit, San Luis Potosi, Jalisco, Michoacán, Zacatecas, and Guanajuato are responsible for 47 percent of migration to the United States from Mexico, according to Mexico's National Population Council.

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The profile of those who try to cross the border illegally have changed in recent years.  Fewer in number are Mexicans who are attempting to reach the United States for the first time - first-timers come more often from Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras, where migrants take to the road to escape violence at home.  More of the Mexicans who brave the risks of the frontier already have roots in the United States.  The Center for Investigative Reporting says that out of the 364,768 apprehensions by the US Border Patrol, 100,735 had already been caught in the act at least two times.

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A two-month trial of the Repatriation Initiative last year saw more than 2,300 Mexicans being returned on 18 flights to the capital.