SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) The federal government will scrap a program for illegal immigrants to turn themselves in for deportation after only eight people volunteered during a nearly three-week trial, an official said Thursday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offered the pilot program in five cities, giving illegal immigrants facing court orders to leave the country 90 days to plan their departure and coordinate travel with relatives instead of facing the prospect of being arrested, detained and deported.
ICE will end its "Scheduled Departure" program when the trial period concludes Friday, Jim Hayes, acting director of ICE's detention and removal operations, told The Associated Press.
"The bottom line is it is not effective," Hayes said. "Quite frankly, I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement."
The eight volunteers included an Estonian man in Phoenix, a Guatemalan man and Indian couple in Chicago, a Salvadoran man in Charlotte, a Mexican woman in San Diego and a Guatemalan man and Lebanese man in Santa Ana, according to ICE.