The US government has halted free flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally by crossing Arizona's parched deserts.
The cutback follows a seven-year experiment that cost nearly $100 million (£62m).
More than 125,000 passengers were flown deep into Mexico since 2004 in an effort to discourage them from trying again.
But with fresh evidence suggesting more people may be heading south of the border rather than north, officials found costs more difficult to justify.
The US Department of Homeland Security said that flights will resume next month in a redesigned programme to include criminals due for deportation.
But the Mexican government has baulked at seating hardened criminals next to families who crossed the border in search of work.
"Mexico is not going to allow, nor will it ever allow, that kind of repatriation, which puts families' safety at risk," said Mexican consul Juan Manuel Calderon.
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