No Volunteers Yet in San Diego for Self-Deportation

Union-Tribune (San Diego), August 5, 2008

There were no takers in San Diego Tuesday for a trial self-deportation program initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Under “Operation Scheduled Departure,” which began Tuesday, immigrants who have not complied with a final order of deportation are being asked to turn themselves in to federal immigration officials with the promise that they will not be placed in custody and can schedule their own departure date within 90 days.

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The pilot program, which is being tried in five cities including San Diego, ends Aug. 22.

The program has generated skepticism and even ridicule from critics since it was announced. Baker said that while no prospective deportees showed up Tuesday at ICE offices in the federal building at 880 Front St. in downtown San Diego, about five people sought information for family members.

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Angel Martinez, a construction worker in Charlotte, N.C., told the AP he did not think the program would work.

“You would have to be crazy—who would want to turn themselves in?” Martinez said. “Nobody wants to go back. We risked everything to get here for a reason.”

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