Following a raid on a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa that's been condemned as "inhumane" and "a Kafkaesque travesty of justice," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying a new approach -- asking undocumented immigrants to deport themselves. Until August 22, immigrants in five cities who "got caught and ignored a judge's order to leave but avoided other trouble with the law" can take part in ICE's new "Operation Scheduled Departure." An ICE official said the program "allows them to leave on their own terms." ICE may also help cover immigrants' transportation costs. Many immigrant rights and reform advocates are skeptical. ICE calls "Scheduled Departure" a "compassionately conceived enforcement initiative." But the director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says the program was designed "to put a happy face on what have been really brutal actions." He adds that those targeted by the program "are desperately trying to stay in the United States, because they have U.S.-born children ... they have spouses, they have jobs, many of them have homes."
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