09/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

ICE Declares Self-Deport Program a Failure

After three weeks and wasting $41,000, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrived at a startling conclusion -- creating a program to allow undocumented immigrants to self-deport doesn't work.

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As Latina Lista noted in the first week of the federal government's program "Scheduled Departure," the idea was a bust from the beginning.

Why it took even this long for ICE to figure it out is a testament to the fact of how out of touch Washington is with the reality, NOT of immigration enforcement, but the reasons why undocumented immigrants continue to stay here and continue to come to the United States.According to ICE officials, only 8 people took advantage of the program: "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."

Jim Hayes, the acting director of ICE's detention and removal operations, told the Associated Press that the failure of this program proves that the only method that really works is enforcement.

Yet again, a Neanderthal response to a complex problem that will not find a likely resolution anytime soon if the same people directing these operations are left in power.

Hayes claims that ICE created "Scheduled Departure" to show immigrant advocates that they do have a soft side when it comes to immigration enforcement. But one has to wonder if it's a soft side or it was being soft in the head that assumed people would voluntarily line up in the streets to self-deport knowing they wouldn't be able to return to their families in this country for years at a stretch.

Hayes further alleges that everyone who was opposed to this benevolent program just wants "amnesty, they want open borders, and they want a more vulnerable America."

The truth of the matter is that Washington allowed for a more vulnerable America and in an effort to clean up their mistakes, they're trying to make up for lost time by dehumanizing the immigration issue. They purposely are not recognizing the fact that because of our nation's clamp down on immigration, many people were forced to stay on this side of the border and establish roots. The results are that there now exists what are known as mixed status families -- some members legal, others not.

What person on earth would knowingly separate him or herself from their family with no idea when they would be reunited or opt to pack the family up and take them to a country that would be strange and foreign to the children and to which they themselves have been disconnected from for years?

The immigration fiasco is a bipartisan blame-game, but it's punitive enforcement is clearly linked to the Republican Party which is justifying the enforcement measures by loudly labeling all these people as criminals -- and in the American psyche, there's no scarier word than "criminal."

It doesn't seem to matter that some members of Congress and corporate America have committed far worse crimes than any of those undocumented whose only crime was using a false Social Security number to work a low-wage job.

In these tight fiscal times, $41,000 is a lot of money to go to waste for a program that could work if it targets the right people. "Scheduled Departure" shouldn't be scrapped just yet.

It should be put on hold until November 4 and then one self-deport center set up -- in Washington, DC.