The U.S. government has flown more than 450 undocumented migrants detained at the southern border to the center of Mexico amid the resumption of the Interior Repatriation Initiative (IRI) and a recent increase in illegal migration.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced via Twitter last week:
"Since December 19, CBP and @ICEgov have returned more than 450 Mexican nationals to Guadalajara as part of the Interior Repatriation Initiative. CBP and ICE will continue to apprehend and remove those who illegally cross the border."
President Donald Trump has praised Mexico's efforts in helping to stem the migration of illegal immigrants at the southern border in his campaign rallies this winter. He has also frequently promised an answer to critics who mock his 2016 campaign slogan "Mexico will pay for it," regarding the construction of the U.S. border wall as immigration and border security stands to be a prominent issue in the 2020 presidential election.
"These interior repatriation flights to Mexico demonstrate our resolve to apprehend and remove those who illegally cross the border," Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan wrote in a statement. "If you cross our border illegally and you have no meritorious claim to stay, we will apprehend and remove you."
The IRI, which resumed Dec. 19, is a joint agreement between the governments of the United States and Mexico to ensure that those repatriated to Mexico are returned closer to their homes in a safe and expeditious manner, according to CBP.
"The Interior Repatriation Initiative reflects our commitment and ongoing bilateral effort with the government of Mexico to ensure strong, humane and effective enforcement of both nations' immigration laws," Acting ICE Director Matt Albence wrote in a statement.
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