Friday, August 22, 2008

Lessons learned from Operation Scheduled Departure

It’s always a good idea to evaluate past efforts and see what was worth keeping and what needs to be changed the next time. That’s how we improve.

So, as we near the end of Immigration’s Operation Scheduled Departure what did we learn?

First, that an offer for a kinder-gentler sort of deportation program doesn’t appeal to the 550,000 fugitives Immigration is looking for. EIGHT people nation-wide stepped forward for removal.

Second, the message was lost on the English-speaking media. They never understood the target audience of this program. ICE was NOT inviting just anyone here illegally to step forward. The people they were looking for were individuals who had been all the way through the hearings/appeals process and the judge finally ordered them to leave the country on such-and-such a date. Rather than leave, they just disappeared. It is the Immigration equivalent of an outstanding warrant.

Now, normally these folks would be picked up and shipped off right away once they were located. Sometimes they show up among the workers at a plant raid. Sometimes Immigration shows up at their doorstep at 5:00 am. Either way they are subject to IMMEDIATE removal.

This program simply gave them the opportunity to organize and control their departure a little bit. And Immigration was willing to help them depart as families, an option that isn’t available when they find these fugitives on the street.

Third, the Hispanic media was no help at all. This is funny because even an amnesty program wouldn’t likely include this group. It would have to be a very liberal plan indeed to allow fugitive absconders a path to citizenship.

Fourth, some Latino activist groups showed their true stripes as explained by Jim Hayes, the program director. “The very criticism of this program makes it transparent that they don't want [immigration] laws enforced.” (from the Wall Street Journal)

Fifth, the summary by Jim Hayes himself: “The bottom line is it is not effective. Quite frankly, I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement.” (from AP)

I hope these people remember that when ICE turns the screws tighter against illegal aliens. But no one likes, “I told you so.”

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