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Judicial Watch • Voluntary Deportation Program Nixed

Voluntary Deportation Program Nixed

Voluntary Deportation Program Nixed

AUGUST 22, 2008

After just three weeks, a ridiculous government program that allowed illegal immigrants to have control over their deportation by surrendering to U.S. authorities has been officially dubbed a failure.

Promoted by the government as a method of enforcing orders of removal without the arrest and detention of non-criminal aliens, the Scheduled Departure program was launched in five U.S. cities— Charlotte North Carolina, Chicago Illinois, Phoenix Arizona and Santa Ana and San Diego California—earlier this month. The government spent $41,000 to advertise it.

Only eight illegal aliens turned themselves in, however, and the pilot program has officially been cancelled. The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention and removal operations says the program’s failure proves that enforcement is the only method that works, pointing out that illegal immigrants want amnesty, open borders and a more vulnerable America.

ICE designed the flawed program with a special group in mind; nearly half a million illegal immigrants who have ignored judicial orders to leave. None have criminal records and many live in the five cities where Scheduled Departure was offered. This might lead some Americans to wonder why the agency doesn’t arrest these illegal aliens who have ignored deportation orders rather than wait for them to come forward.

Outraged Immigrant rights activists, who ridiculed Scheduled Departure, are now worried that its failure will in fact lead to an increase in raids and other much-needed enforcement actions. In fact, immigration officials said the voluntary surrender plan was created precisely to quell criticism in the surge in immigration raids nationwide.

Now they will go back to the more effective method of removing immigration fugitives who have, in some cases, ignored multiple deportation orders—unexpected home visits during the late-night and early-morning hours.

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