With an increase in deportations of more than 50 percent over the last two years, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement team is ramping up its airline service. The ICE deported more than 76,000 illegal aliens during the fiscal year that ended September 30 on 10 aircraft - twice the fleet from a year ago.
For those being deported, they are treated well. The aircraft feature leather seats, head rests, polite service and free food.
The ICE's chief of flight operations for deportations and removals Michael J. Pitts told the Wall Street Journal the reason for the perks. "For a lot of these immigrants, it has been a long journey to the U.S. This is going to be the last impression they have of the United States. We want to provide good service."
ICE Air, as its called by agency employees, flies passengers to hub cities like Mesa, Ariz. and Alexandria, La. where they are then put on flights back home. Final destinations are mostly Latin American countries, including three daily flights to Guatemala City and two to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The average cost for the one-way flights is $620 per person paid for by the federal government. But the long-term savings is much greater. According to a study done by the Heritage Foundation, less-educated foreign workers cost taxpayers $20,000 per year.
The U.S. deports people to more than 190 countries. They deported 72,187 illegal aliens last year and 50,222 two years ago.
For more information, click here.
Updated: Mon, Oct 20th 2008 @ 3:27pm EDT