operation scheduled departure

A New Immigration Strategy - Deport Yourself!

This past Sunday, Assistant Secretary for Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), Julie Myers, announced a new pilot program called "Operation Scheduled Departure" on Univision's political show, Al Punto. The idea is to "invite" all the undocumented immigrants who have already undergone immigration proceedings and have been issued a removal order (called non-criminal fugitives by ICE) to approach their local ICE office to begin their deportation. Why didn't we think of that before?! ICE reports that there are 400,000 people who currently fit that description. People who are not eligible for the program are all the undocumented immigrants who have not yet undergone removal proceedings (i.e., have not been caught), and any with a criminal conviction. However, when Ms. Myers "invited" all the viewers of the channel with the largest Hispanic audience in the country to participate, she omitted this detail, making it sound like anyone who is currently undocumented can participate. Not to mention, the policy is contradictory - during this same interview, Ms. Myers herself stated, "When I speak to people in the [ICE] detention centers and I ask if they plan on coming back [to the U.S.], they say ‘of course I'm coming back - that person always gives me a job.'"

During a conference call today with Congressional staffers, ICE officials had a hard time selling the program. Before promoting this program among people in their districts, staffers understandably pressed for answers: "What would be the benefit of participating?" DHS says: Well, they'd avoid risking being caught in a raid (another one, I guess, because they've already been caught, right?) and this way they'd have time to make "all necessary arrangements". Brilliant! It sounds like a concierge service. "Would turning oneself in count towards a legal status?" No. "Would participating in the program grant reprieve from the statutory bars that prohibit re-entry into the U.S.?" No. "Could people just leave of their own accord, without reporting to ICE, and then report their departure to a consulate abroad?" Sure, that's still their choice. Hmmmm...I could almost hear everyone on the phone scratching their head. "What about countries that refuse to issue travel documents, or won't accept their nationals back?" Yeah, then those folks would remain in the U.S. under ICE supervision indefinitely. Sounds like they've really thought this through. ICE could not provide me with the cost of the pilot program, and they couldn't tell us what results they expect to have. So I still don't understand the point of this program - a program that will only be in five cities (Santa Ana, CA, San Diego, CA, Chicago, IL, Pheonix, AZ, and Charlotte, NC), to - ideally - schedule the deportation of 400,000 people during a three-week window (August 5-27). I agree with Doug Rivlin, from National Immigration Forum, "It's pure fantasy." Even Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the largest anti-immigrant lobby group, agreed, "The government would have to offer some kind of incentive to entice immigrants to sign up."

Yet another example of the short-sighted, uninformed, and inadequate policies of this Administration. To us at NDN, this is not a solution to the problem. Instead of laughable policies like this, DHS should channel its resources towards dealing with its own backlog, which is keeping many from obtaining legal status, and it should help Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform to address the flaws in immigration law, provide a pathway to citizenship for those who fulfill certain requirements, and deal with the issue of future flow of immigrants.

Atención Inmigrantes: Autodepórtense!

Por fin alguien encontró una solución para la inmigración ilegal. Se llama Operación Salida Programada (vea Operation Schedule Departure), la que, gracias al genio de nuestro Presidente y su administración, logrará poner un fin a la inmigración ilegal. ICE comenzará pronto con éste programa "piloto", que tendrá una duración de tres semanas, y que consiste en una oferta de autodeportación para inmigrantes ilegales en cinco ciudades en el país. Estas ciudades son Chicago, San Diego, Santa Ana, Phoenix y Charlotte.

O sea básicamente ICE les va a "permitir" a los inmigrantes ilegales que no tienen antecedentes penales, presentarse ante las autoridades y regresar a sus países de origen. ¿Y el incentivo? que no se los va a internar en un centro de detención antes de ser deportados. Ah y que tendrán hasta tres meses para irse del país.

Consideremos la ridiculez de ésta iniciativa como respuesta a las acusaciones de que los procedimientos de deportación que ICE utiliza son crueles. También consideremos lo poco realista que es ésta solución: porque 12 millones de personas (que es aproximadamente el numero de inmigrantes ilegales que hay actualmente en este pais ) - muchas de las cuales arriesgaron sus vidas para venir a aquí - están ansiosos por regresar a sus paises de origen y descartar todo lo que han trabajado tan duro para lograr. Lo único que se me ocurre que es un incentivo real es el pobre Estado de la economía en nuestro país (gracias, otra vez, Sr. Bush).

Me encanta la creatividad de esta administración (y para que no haya malentendidos, lo digo de la forma más sarcástica posible), y esta "solución" solo demuestra el tipo de agencia que ICE es: inservible.

Para más información Vea las notas de NPR aquí

y aquí

Syndicate content