Sunday, August 24, 2008

Your tax dollars at work

Federal immigration officials recently spent a couple of weeks on a highly touted program to attract illegal immigrants interested in turning themselves in. Take a moment to let that sink in. That's right. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials spent our money and their time (paid for with our money) on a "self-deportation" program for illegals in five cities from coast to coast. This is pretty much akin to asking people if they would like a kick in the family jewels or a sharp stick in the eye. After all the hoopla, a grand total of eight people took them up on the offer. I'm guessing these people were planning to head back south of the border (or wherever they came from) anyway and were just looking for a free ride. Jim Hayes, ICE's acting director of detention and removal operations, said the agency would press on with its more traditional efforts to round up and deport illegals, but he defended what the agency referred to as the "Scheduled Departure" program, saying that although it cost $41,000 to advertise the effort, the government saved money because it would have cost $54,000 to detain the eight people who turned themselves in, if they had been caught by other means. Uh, Mr. Hayes, that argument presumes that your agency would have caught those eight people, and based on the estimate that 12 million illegal immigrants live in this country, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that isn't such a good bet. We can argue about what this country's immigration policy should be, or how much money should be spent to round up these people, but this "Scheduled Departure" program was just stupid.



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