Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feds to intensify deportation efforts after killing ‘self-deportation’ program

The federal government is scrapping its three-week old ‘Scheduled Departure’ program for illegal immigrants. In the program, illegals with a previous deportation order could turn themselves in for deportation without penalty. Only eight people had volunteered during the trial. ICE offered such illegals in five cities 90 days to plan their departure and coordinate travel with relatives instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, detained and deported.

ICE offered the program to 457,000 illegal immigrants nationwide who have ignored judicial orders to leave the U.S. but have no criminal record. Immigrant advocates, who said the program had few incentives said they now worry that ICE will cite the weak turnout as a reason to step up raids.

Jim Hayes, acting director of ICE's detention and removal operations, told the press, "Quite frankly, I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement."

Hayes said ICE will intensify efforts to track down illegal immigrants after scrapping the program, with more illegals arrested this year than last, and even more next year as more agents are assigned to the effort. "We are going to continue our enforcement of immigration law whether it is convenient for people, or whether it's not convenient,” he said.

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