The Associated Press has just reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is ending the “Scheduled Departure” program when the trial run concludes Friday. According to the AP wire, only eight people participated in the program.
According to ICE, the purpose of the program was to give illegal immigrants under court order to leave more control over their departure, being less disruptive to affected families. While pro-immigrant activists ridiculed ICE’s attempt, many now fear that the program’s short-lived “test” will only prompt far more stringent enforcement from ICE.
According to analysts, the ill-conceived program by ICE offered too few (if any) incentives for immigrants to come forward and “self-deport”, since they could be barred from re-entering the U.S. for as long as 10 years. The program also failed to consider the needs and circumstances of immigrants’ ties to family left behind in the U.S.
ICE offered the program to 457,000 illegal immigrants nationwide who were under judicial orders to leave the country, but had no criminal records. The immigrants were given up to 90 days to plan their exit and coordinate travel with relatives instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, detained and deported.