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According to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Mexico during a meeting between the two at the Vatican last month.

Since the June 7 meeting, Tijuana has turned up repeatedly on lists of cities the pope is likely to visit, especially since the Vatican has expressed interest in a city where immigration is a major issue.

On that count, Tijuana scores high — both in illegal immigration into the U.S. and in deportations from the U.S. to Mexico.

According to the Instituto Nacional de Migración, 96,000 people were deported from the U.S. to Baja California in 2013; of those, 46,875 were sent to Tijuana.

Tijuana, said mayor Jorge Astiazarán Orcí, has become a good example for the rest of the world of “the great problem of immigration.” The mayor’s remarks came in a July 17 interview published the following day by the daily El Sol de Tijuana.

In a July 18 television interview with Mónico Margarito, judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Tijuana, he said it was entirely possible that Tijuana will be picked for a papal visit because of immigration’s role in the life of the city.

According to a July 16 story published by the Mexico City daily Excélsior, which cited sources among Mexico’s bishops, Tijuana is on a list with Monterrey and Mexico City for the papal visit.

The visit will occur near the end of September 2015 and is scheduled to coincide with a papal visit to Philadelphia for an international conference on the family, Excélsior reported.

Neither the visit to Mexico nor to Philadelphia has been confirmed by the Vatican.

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