As the debate over border security continues to escalate, many illegal aliens are being deported via U.S. government "Con Air" planes serving as high-flying paddy wagons.
For some 47,000 illegal immigrants — non-Mexicans caught near the border and those caught committing crimes in the United States — the journey into America on foot ends quickly with a journey out of America on an airplane as part of the U.S. Marshals Service's Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System.
The Border Patrol has caught and let go upwards of 100,000 illegal immigrants directly at border crossings in each of the past few years. This policy, known as "catch and release," has been the primary response of the government to illegal aliens due to financial constraints. But the Bush administration's response is now expedited removal.
The policy of expedited removal says rather than appoint a futile court date to illegals — court dates which many undocumented immigrants miss — every illegal alien caught within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border is immediately put on a plane and flown home.
Since the program began two years ago, the Homeland Security Department has deported 50,000 people.
This U.S. Marshal-run "Con Air" program operates 12 flights per week to countries in Central America. Inmates are kept in shackles and are guarded by 12 marshals. For every illegal alien deported, Americans pay $600. It costs $100 per day to keep that same person in prison. Each individual jail term runs the government approximately $9,000.
Many inmates being deported say they don't even know the countries they are being sent back to, and many have families and jobs here in the United States.
"All my family is here, this is where my family is, my country," said inmate Ever Flores, who is being deported to Honduras. "This is where I was raised. Even if people don't like it, this is my county also. I was raised here; the only difference is I was born in Honduras."'
Added Marco Herrera, also deported to Guatemala: "What they are doing is breaking up families … I don't think that is right."
FOX News' William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.