Federal authorities launched a pilot program this month which allows noncriminal illegal immigrants with final deportation orders to surrender rather than face possible arrest and detention.
Two Southern California cities -- Santa Ana and San Diego -- are among five cities nationwide where immigrants can turn themselves in until to August 22.
Some individuals will be given up to 90 days before being required to leave the country, and the agency will pay for the plane tickets for some.
500,000 are eligible to participate in the program, which was developed to see if it would be more effective that early morning raids on shops and factories.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it will continue to track down fugitives in Southern California and throughout the nation, arresting and removing immigrants who have criminal records or who have failed to abide by deportation orders. Last fiscal year, fugitive operations teams arrested more than 19,000 immigrants nationwide, including more than 15,600 who did not have criminal records.
The mass arrests of immigrants thoughout the nation are highly controversial, and Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto), head of the Hispanic caucus, pointed to charges that the workers did not have proper access to lawyers and were pushed into guilty pleas.
"The way the raids took place," he said, raising a copy of the Bill of Rights, "you'd think none of this was true."
The attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP are experienced in dealing with INS, Federal immigration authorities and the court system in immigration matters. For more information, please contact them today.
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