The federal "self-deportation" pilot program ends today with a scant handful of illegal immigrants volunteering to return home. The three-week program gave illegal immigrants facing court orders 90 days to plan their departure rather than face being arrested, detained, and deported. The program was well-publicized, but in the first week only six signed up.
Immigrant advocates cite few incentives and no consideration for immigrants' ties to family in the US for the reason it was so unpopular. Given the failure of the program, they're worried now that it will be used as a reason to step up the raids since the ICE made an effort to enforce the law in a gentler way.
One religious figure is playing the WWJD game with immigration raids. To see what he has to say,
Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop is calling for an end to immigration raids and has asked for a blanket moratorium on them in his state. Bishop Thomas Tobin says,
We often ask, 'What would Jesus do?' I know for sure what Jesus would not do, would be to sweep into a community, gather up large numbers of people, separate them from one another and deport them to another country. In my own mind, in my own conscience, that's crystal clear: Jesus would not do that.
He goes on to say that raids are unjust, unnecessary, and counterproductive. Are they? Why did the self-deportation program fail? Would Jesus really disapprove of raids? Are they the only solution?