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How we know immigration enforcement is working–Part I

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By See-Dubya  •  August 1, 2008 12:20 AM

The independent (but pro-enforcement) Center for Immigration Studies estimates an eleven percent drop in the number of illegal aliens in America from last August to this May.

Though I believe enforcement is effective, I don’t believe that change is conclusive proof of its effectiveness. After all, the voluntary self-deportations might have occurred mainly for economic reasons instead of the fear of enforcement. Still, I’m sure it played some part.

Actually, I thought this idea was the most interesting part of the article:

ICE announced a pilot program to allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are defying deportation orders to come forward and set up a schedule for leaving. The voluntary program would allow the immigrants not to be detained in the interim, would remove some penalties and would give them time to get their affairs in order.

ICE portrayed the move as a chance for immigrant-rights groups, who have criticized the agency for its fugitive raids, to “step up to the table” and prove they want an orderly system.

“One of the criticisms we face though, from immigrant advocacy groups and from faith-based organizations and community groups, is there’s a better way to do this – if we just gave people an opportunity to turn themselves in, they would do so,” said Jim Hayes, acting director of ICE’s Office of Detention and Removal.

You know, I’m fine with that, though I expect many of this blog’s readers may consider it too accommodating. I’m all for assisting with an orderly exit for people who come forward voluntarily and who haven’t committed any crimes (more about that in Part II of this post). It gets them out of the country, and it gets them into the system.

But whether you agree with me that this is good policy or not, I think most of you can appreciate the politics involved here. ICE just called these “immigrant rights groups’” bluff. Oh, you say illegals will self-deport voluntarily if we give them a chance? Great, let’s give them a chance!

If the amnesty activists are right, we should see thousands and thousands of aliens taking advantage of this chance to turn themselves in and deport themselves. So the country wins.

But if those hordes of grateful-but-homesick border-jumpers don’t materialize, then the open-borders crowd has major egg on its face as one of their talking points dissolves. And ICE has an excuse to get tougher on enforcement. So the country wins that way, too.

If you click through to the article, you’ll see that those “immigrant rights groups” are extremely dismissive of this idea. They did not enjoy having their bluff called, not one bit.

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{Post by See-Dubya}

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