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At 2 a.m., U.S. immigration officers prepare to escort Illegal immigrants from a bus in Calexico, Calif., through a gate into Mexicali, Mexico. About 30 detainees were flown 1,200 miles on a chartered jet from where they were arrested in Texas a few days ago.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

An immigrant being deported from the United States walks through a fenced gateway from Calexico, Calif., on the right and into Mexicali, Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Immigrants try to decide what to do after being deported from the U.S. About a dozen in the group will take a bus home.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Raul Calderon, 34, tries to rest on a balcony of the Hotel Centenario in Mexicali, Mexico. He was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in Tucson and deported from California. Calderon says he's broke and is staying free in the dilapidated hotel, which is run by an immigrant advocacy group.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Immigrants who were arrested in Texas by U.S. authorities rest on a balcony in the Hotel Centenario in downtown Mexicali, Mexico, after being deported.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Men who were deported from the U.S. wait outside a government office in Mexicali, Mexico. They have been promised bus tickets to their hometowns in Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Men who were deported from the United States ride in the back of a Grupos Beta truck through Mexicali, Mexico. Grupos Beta is a government immigrant protection organization.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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New strategy seeks to disrupt immigration routes

For years, illegal immigrants were deported across the border from where they were caught, a practice that allowed them to easily try again, sometimes within hours.

Now federal officials have adopted a new strategy that disrupts immigration routes.

Many immigrants caught in California are flown to Texas, and the flights return with immigrants caught in Texas. The new transfer program aims to disrupt long-established immigration patterns.

Critics view the expansion of the program with trepidation, saying it’s costly and deports immigrants into lawless border cities where they are preyed on by organized crime groups. But border authorities consider the program effective because it hinders immigrants’ ability to reestablish ties with smuggling groups.

Read Richard Marosi’s story


  1. October 23, 2011, 8:36 pm

    we are concerned about letting them fall prey to organized crime when we release them in to mexico for WHAT REASON??? the Cartels run organized crime here in the US that WE fall prey to,

    By: mike
  2. February 10, 2014, 11:38 pm

    In the US the street crimes are on its peak, I don't know who will stop it.

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