Wanted: Illegal immigrants with clean records who have ignored court orders to leave the country. Immigration officials are standing by to help you leave the country. No jail. No joke.
That invitation drew hardly any takers Tuesday on the first day of a new federal "self-deportation" program that offered 457,000 eligible illegal immigrants the chance to turn themselves in, get their affairs in order and leave the country without being detained.
The program, dubbed "Scheduled Departure," gives immigrants who have no criminal history and pose no threat to the community up to 90 days to make travel arrangements, and in some cases say goodbye to their families, without being placed in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, detention center.