Thousands of Migrants Returning Home Under New US Program

Taxpayers foot bill for migrants to be bused, flown back

Image Credits: ULISES RUIZ/AFP/Getty Images.

More than 2,000 Central American migrants seeking to settle in the United States have given up and accepted free rides home under a 10-month-old program funded by the U.S. government and run by a United Nations agency, according to a U.N. official.

The “Assisted Voluntary Return” program has paid for buses or flights for 2,170 migrants who either never reached the United States or were detained after crossing the border and then sent to Mexico to await U.S. immigration hearings, according to Christopher Gascon, an official with the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).


The $1.65 million program, funded by the U.S. State Department, is raising concerns among immigration advocates who say it could violate a principle under international law against returning asylum seekers to countries where they could face persecution.

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