'It's a nuisance': US border effort sputters as migrants cross repeatedly even after being caught
Asked to provide the cost, Customs and Border Protection said ATEP "uses resources that were already in place ... and cannot be separated from the normal cost of doing business."
Until last year, ICE typically paid a night of detention, which cost an average of $119 a person.
Air-conditioned buses still leave the Border Patrol's Tucson compound each weekday with up to 188 passengers. Two follow a 700-mile route east to Del Rio, Texas, where they are dropped off in the neighboring Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna. Two head about 300 miles west toward Mexicali.
As ATEP grew, Mexicali became the top destination for those deported to Mexico, peaking at 66,517 in 2012, a 24 percent increase from two years earlier, according to Mexico's National Immigration Institute. Several migrant shelters opened in the sprawling city of 750,000 to handle the influx.
Migrants gravitate to a breezy, sunlit hallway to discuss their next moves at the Hotel of the Deported Migrant, which housed up to 300 people a night after opening in 2010. The Mexican government offers discounted bus tickets and a limited number of free flights to their hometowns, but few consider it.
Abel Delgado, who lived in the Phoenix area for 23 years and was a cook and construction worker before he was deported in 2010, was bused from Tucson after four days of walking through the Arizona desert.
The 30-year-old planned to reunite with his smuggler for another attempt in Arizona after the summer heat, determined to rejoin his wife and daughters, ages 5 and 8.
"If I didn't have family, I'd stay here," he said.
- It's not just young people — seniors...
- International tax competitiveness report: See...
- 11 best—and worst—state tax systems
- 'Maze Runner' races past 'Tombstones' with...
- White House intruder identified as Army...
- Ex-stepson: White House intruder meant no harm
- Who wins Senate control? Nov. 4 might not decide
- Decision on Yellowstone bison quarantine...
- Striking or spanking a child is not a... 20
- School police stock up on free military... 11
- Yellen says US families need to boost... 10
- Security breached: Intruder gets into... 9
- How much America wants to be taxed 9
- Thousands march in NYC, around globe... 6
- It's not just young people —... 6
- Vikings place Adrian Peterson on exempt... 5