MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials held a press conference on updates on Operation Broken Promise.
Operation Broken Promise is a national operation that deployed officers across the nation to search for undocumented immigrants that failed to leave the country under a voluntary order.
At the press conference, Senior Official, performing the duties of director, Tony Pham spoke on the progress that Operation Broken Promise had made in removing individuals that failed to go through with the order.
“During the past two weeks, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations located 154 aliens who received an order of voluntary departure but refused to leave the United States,” said Pham.
Under the voluntary departure order, an undocumented immigrant that has been placed in removal proceedings can request to be granted voluntary departure from the country. The process then gives the individuals permission to leave the country on their own, instead of facing a removal order that may hold a five or 10-year ban to returning to the United States, explained Pham.
“The alien is given a specific date to depart, which is typically within 60 or 120 days, depending on the decision and the pathway chosen by the alien. Which allows them to the convenience of choosing his or her own place and time or departure to avoid a removal order,” said Pham at the conference.
Pham mentions that a voluntary departure reduces litigation and removal cost for the United States.
He adds that some undocumented immigrants are “taking advantage” of such path by not honoring the commitment made to leave the country within the allotted time.
Pham stated that over the first phase of the operation, of the undocumented immigrants located, 133 had criminal convictions.
“Operation Broken Promise seeks to restore integrity to the voluntary departure process and serves as a reminder to those with orders of voluntary departure that you must keep your promise to the United States and depart within the agreed time frame,” said Pham.
Pham adds this is the beginning of the operation and that ICE will seek to continue removing those that failed to follow through with the agreed terms.
Specifically, 27 of those undocumented immigrants arrested were from Texas.
The orders span from 1997 to 2020 and include a vast demographic.
Watch entire press conference below: