The number of illegal immigrants who have applied for voluntary departure, also known as self-deportation, has soared since the election of President Donald Trump, according to a report by The Marshall Project.  

The Project’s data shows that self-deportations increased by 50 percent in 2017, and then doubled that number in 2018.

Illegal immigrants are asking courts to leave the country on their own, rather than have their case be labeled a government-forced deportation.

There are incentives for leaving voluntarily, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation: “Instead of being held in a detention center for an indefinite amount of time or undergo a strenuous courtroom battle, undocumented immigrants can simply return to their home country. Additionally, migrants who don’t have deportation on their record are not required to wait years to apply for a U.S. visa to re-enter the country.”

The Marshall Project’s report found that the upward trend in applications to self-deport started in 2016, around the time of the election of President Trump.

The data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review matches on-the-ground reporting.

One illegal immigrant interviewed by The Marshall Project had lived in the United States for 20 years when a police officer pulled over the unregistered vehicle she was riding in. She lived in Georgia raising her three children, all American citizens.

The woman opted to ask the court for voluntary departure, which would allow her to leave the United States without ordered deportation marring her record, rather than languish in jail.

ICE Statistics

It may be tough deciphering what is actually occurring at the border and throughout the country regarding ICE and arrest and removal of illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants are removed based on the individual lacking a qualified, legal basis to remain in the United States.

It states on the ICE website that every effort is made to arrest illegal immigrants who threaten public safety. But no criminal action or conviction is required for an illegal to be arrested, detained, and/or removed from the country by Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

In the fiscal year 2018, ERO arrested 158,581 illegal immigrants.  66 percent were convicted criminals, 21 percent had pending charges, and 3 percent were previously issued final orders for removal. 

The total number of illegal immigrants removed from the country was 256,085 for FY2018. Of those removals, over half were convicted criminals.

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