In the weeks since Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Julie Myers revealed in a TV interview that officials were planning to offer a new "self-deportation" program, the story has been picked up by media outlets worldwide.
ICE paid for newspaper and radio ads in test cities, trying to entice the estimated 457,000 fugitive immigrants in the U.S. to turn themselves in with promises they could "avoid detention" and "manage your own return." Since the program's launch Aug. 5, Operation Scheduled Departure has attracted a half-dozen participants.
Undeterred by the 0.0013 percent participation rate so far, ICE officials said they're holding out judgment on the program's fate until it ends Friday. The agency budgeted $50,000 for radio and print ads for the five-city program, which works out to about $8,333 per participant so far.