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Self Deportation: It's A Real Thing

Formally known as Scheduled Departure, it was tried in 2008, and didn't work very well. As Rick Santorum pointed out, a terrible economy is working better.

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Mitt Romney got a big laugh on Twitter for calling for "self-deportation."

But it's a real thing.

The Washington Post reported at the time 2008:

CHARLOTTE -- With a fanfare of news conferences and Spanish-language television and newspaper ads, U.S. authorities last week started giving 457,000 illegal immigrants a chance to turn themselves in without the usual threat of arrest and detention.

The cold reception given to the rollout of the three-week pilot self-deportation program, called Scheduled Departure, presents an apt metaphor for the state of relations between U.S. enforcement officials and immigrant advocates in the year since Congress killed President Bush's proposed overhaul.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

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