Summer Voluntary Humanitarian Repatriation Resumes to the Mexican Interior

A program of voluntary humanitarian repatriation has been continued for the sixth consecutive year.
The U.S. and Mexican governments recently announced resumption of a voluntary program to return Mexican nationals, who are unlawfully in the United States and who have been apprehended in the Sonora Arizona desert area, to the Mexican interior as a way of preventing loss of life for certain at risk Mexican populations. Increasing numbers of incidents along the U.S.-Mexican border regions from California to Texas involved directly or peripherally with contraband smuggling or illegal transportation of people, with escalating levels of violence, have been reported. An alarming level of killings, kidnappings, and other criminal activity has been frequently reported in the press and is occurring. Verified incidents of violence are also on the rise in recent years.

In a program referred to as the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program or the MIRP, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Mexican Ministry of the Interior recently announced the resumption of the MIRP for the sixth consecutive year. The program represents voluntary cooperation between both governments with the dual goal of reducing loss of life and fighting organized crime linked to the smuggling persons into the U.S.

The MIRP identifies Mexican nationals caught in the Arizona desert sector who are taken to certain U.S. Department of Homeland Security facilities where they meet with Mexican Consular officials, are screened medically, and then offered the chance to return voluntary to their places of origin within the Mexican interior. The MIRP further considers persons who may be vulnerable to the Arizona summer heat because of their age, or who may be vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs operating in the area because of the distance to their hometowns in Mexico, for participation in the program. The MIRP runs daily flights from Tucson, Arizona, to Mexico City. Participants then take buses for the final leg of the trip back home. The MIRP excludes participation by foreign nationals convicted of violent crimes.

This year’s first MIRP flight left Tucson on August 22, 2009. The MIRP runs through September 28, 2009. More than 80,000 persons opted to participate in MIRP during the last 5 years.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit