[JURIST] In a program set to begin again this year on Friday, the US government plans to fly close to 34,000 illegal Mexican immigrants back to their home country [CBP press release] in what officials describe as an effort to reduce deaths resulting from human smuggling. Rights groups have charged that the $14.2 million dollar program does not effectively stop or slow illegal immigration. Customs and Border Protection [official website] Commissioner Robert Bonner [official profile] said Wednesday that the program, which drops immigrants back at their hometowns and is now entering its second year, is effective because it kept them away from the border and out of the hands of smugglers seeking to send them back into the US. Twice-daily flights from southern Arizona will run through the summer. Reuters has more.