ICE ended its self-deportation pilot program for non-criminal fugitive aliens last week, noting that it learned a lot from the three-week initiative. The pilot was designed to give illegal-alien absconders an opportunity to self-deport, rather than risk sudden arrest and detention in stepped up fugitive searches and worksite raids. ICE arrested about 750 illegal aliens who would have been eligible for self-deportation during the three weeks, but only eight absconders chose to turn themselves in.
Jim Hayes, the Acting Director of ICE's Office of Detention and Removal, said ICE didn’t consider the program a failure because it learned that the only method that works is enforcement. The program had generated some interest, given that 136 calls were placed to ICE’s hotline. It also produced a small cost savings for the bureau. While the agency spent $41,000 on the initiative, it saved $13,000 by not having to detain the eight participants.
Hayes criticized open-border groups who had decried enforcement actions yet openly mocked the initiative and encouraged eligible absconders to ignore it. The New York Times reports Hayes as saying, “What the advocates state is that what we don’t like is enforcement of the law itself. Congress has mandated enforcement of the law, and that is what we are going to continue to do…In order to have laws and have them have meaning, there has to be consequences for violating those laws. If you have laws and no consequences for violating it, you have anarchy.” The Associated Press notes Hayes also said, "They want amnesty, they want open borders, and they want a more vulnerable America."
Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 2:00pm EDT