ICE organizes self deportation

Houston Chronicle:

Rather than risk getting caught, turn yourselves in.

That's the latest government strategy in its ongoing effort to dramatically reduce the nation's ballooning population of illegal immigrants.

Scheduled to be unveiled next week, it was announced Sunday by Julie Myers, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an interview with a Spanish-language television network.

Myers told the network that "Operation Scheduled Departure" will allow illegal immigrants without criminal records a chance to literally "self-deport" by turning themselves in to her agents.

She said the idea derived from a common complaint voiced by immigrant detainees: If given the opportunity, they'd rather just go home than be holed up in immigration prisons.

Under the new program, those still walking free will have the chance to walk into ICE offices, be processed and get a few weeks to arrange their affairs, pack their belongings and ship out of the country without being detained.

"The program basically gives an opportunity to those seeking an organized way to self-deport," Myers told Univisión anchor Jorge Ramos.

Myers said the program would allow immigrants to avoid the increasing risks of being picked up in a raid at home or at work, but would offer no additional incentives to turn themselves in — no chance at qualifying for an amnesty, for example.

...

Self deportation is always going to be preferable to forced deportation. Whether immigrants want to formalize the process maybe another question. It is the threat of arrest and loss of work that motivates the self deportees.

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