It’s a positive data point in a sea of bad ones.
A little bit of context though.
1. We’re talking about a specific agreement to leave the country, rather than illegal aliens just deciding to leave, which has been happening more frequently.
2. The flip side of these numbers is that the illegal aliens may just be signing these agreements to end a legal battle and exit detention, before getting smuggled back into the country.
The number of immigrants who have applied for voluntary departure has soared since the election of Donald Trump, according to new Justice Department data obtained by The Marshall Project. In fiscal year 2018, the number of applications doubled from the previous fiscal year—rising much faster than the 17 percent increase in overall immigration cases, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The numbers show yet another way the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration is having an effect: More people are considering leaving the U.S., rather than being stuck in detention or taking on a lengthy legal battle with little hope of success.
Last year, voluntary departure applications reached a seven-year high of 29,818. In the Atlanta court, which hears cases of Irwin detainees like Zamarrón, the applications multiplied nearly seven times from 2016 to 2018.
Under immigration law, voluntary departure is considered a kind of privilege. If you are deported, you have to wait years to apply for a visa to reenter the United States, but those who leave voluntarily don’t have the same wait. And you don’t face serious prison time if you are caught without legal status in the U.S.
That’s part of the problem. They view it as an exit strategy before plotting another way to break into the country.
From Mexico, she recently video-called into her 13-year-old daughter’s baptism. She hopes to apply for a U-Visa as a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault and, at the very least, have her 17-year old son petition to bring her to the United States after he turns 21.
So these are only temporary wins.