Besides the fact that the immigration system is so flawed that it takes people years to get a visa (like my family who had to wait 5 years!) here is another case in point that shows ineffective policies. See the article below. However, do not dismiss the last figure that may give this policy some reason to exist.
New immigration strategy — Deport yourself
Agency allows immigrants here illegally to avoid raids, prison by turning selves in
By HERNÃ N ROZEMBERG San Antonio Express-News
July 30, 2008, 2:37AM
That’s the latest government strategy in its ongoing effort to dramatically reduce the nation’s ballooning population of illegal immigrants.
Scheduled to be unveiled next week, it was announced Sunday by Julie Myers, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an interview with a Spanish-language television network.
Myers told the network that “Operation Scheduled Departure” will allow illegal immigrants without criminal records a chance to literally “self-deport” by turning themselves in to her agents.
She said the idea derived from a common complaint voiced by immigrant detainees: If given the opportunity, they’d rather just go home than be holed up in immigration prisons.
Under the new program, those still walking free will have the chance to walk into ICE offices, be processed and get a few weeks to arrange their affairs, pack their belongings and ship out of the country without being detained.
“The program basically gives an opportunity to those seeking an organized way to self-deport,” Myers told Univisión anchor Jorge Ramos.
Myers said the program would allow immigrants to avoid the increasing risks of being picked up in a raid at home or at work, but would offer no additional incentives to turn themselves in — no chance at qualifying for an amnesty, for example.
ICE officials in San Antonio, Dallas and Washington refused to elaborate on the program, saying no details will be made available before the official presentation next week.
Proposal met with scorn
Immigrant advocates called it a laughable charade with little to no chance of succeeding without any carrots to offer self-deportees.
“It’s pure fantasy,” said Doug Rivlin, spokesman for the National Immigration Forum in Washington. “An attempt to entice people to sign away their rights and get out of the country as quickly as possible before even talking to a lawyer.”
If people truly wanted to leave on their own, they’d buy their own bus or plane ticket home without checking in with ICE first, Rivlin said.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the country’s largest anti-illegal-immigration lobby group based in Washington, said he’d have to concede that point.
The government would have to offer some kind of incentive to entice immigrants to sign up, such as telling them that by leaving voluntarily they would be allowed to apply to come back legally, Mehlman said.
The concept of nudging undocumented immigrants into leaving on their own is one his group has long advocated.
“It certainly makes sense to create conditions to make people understand that if they’re here illegally, it’s not going to benefit them to stick around,” he said.
While it remains to be seen whether the idea works for ICE, another federal agency that came up with the idea three years ago claims it has worked well.
“Fugitive Safe Surrender” offers non-violent criminals with arrest warrants a chance to give themselves up to the U.S. Marshals Service instead of being hunted down. So far more than 16,000 have accepted the offer.