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Just 6 People Nationwide Participate in Voluntary Deportation Program


So far, just six of the more than 550-thousand illegal immigrants federal officials invited to turn themselves in have accepted the offer. Federal officials launched a pilot program a week ago to entice illegal immigrants to surrender. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

The program is aimed at illegal immigrants who've ignored deportation orders.

The carrot at the end of federal officials' stick is the promise that people who surrender get 90 days to organize their affairs.

Federal officials normally arrest people without warning.

A third of the way through the program, just one one thousandth of one percent of those who are eligible have come forward. In San Diego, a lone Mexican citizen has surrendered.

Virginia Kice with Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the federal government saves money if just a few people participate.

Virginia Kice: Anyone who comes forward will likely not be detained, so we're going to save detention costs. In addition, some of these participants are going to agree to pay the expense of their return to their native country. So, we'll save money carrying out the actual deportation.

Kice says federal officials have spent about 50-thousand dollars to advertise the program.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.

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