Last Friday the Wall Street Journal did an article on a company called ICE Airlines which is actually just a government agency which deals in the deportation of illegal aliens from the United States. The article discussed the in-flight conditions and the process of how the ICE Air system works. What ICE Air does exactly is it takes illegal immigrants from many large cities all over the country and brings them into detention centers in one of the 4 hub cities (Mesa, Arizona; Houston, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and Alexandria, Louisiana). It’s in these detention centers that the detainees will have to stay until a flight to their home country can be organized. Once ICE is able to fill an entire flight, the detainees are taken back to their home countries which for the most part are in Latin America. As more and more airlines are raising fares and cutting costs ICE Air offers its passengers a luxury jet complete with leather seats, ample leg room, and even a free meal.
Now I’ll be one of the first to tell you that I support shipping illegal immigrants back to their home countries as fast as possible, but at what cost? ICE’s annual budget is approximately $5 Billion a year, which has been well-spent with arrests of illegal immigrants and border security all having sky-rocketed in past years. This is why the government had to come up with a faster way of deporting all these detainees. So ICE Air was born. My problems with the system however is the U.S. tax-payer footing the bill for illegal aliens to enjoy a nicer flight than I have ever even been on, and what is the cost of a ticket that we are paying? $620 per one way ticket! Many of the employees of ICE, however, are happy to provide this service to these people. “This is going to be the last memory they have of the United States. We want to provide good service,” said Michael J Pitts, chief of flight operations for deportations and removals at ICE.
I’m against illegal aliens being able to come into the country completely unregulated, but I’m also a farm boy from the South who grew up going with my grandpa into town to find “wet-backs” to work for us for the week. Many of the jobs they do, they do for well below minimum wage which no U.S. citizen would ever consider. This keeps farmers like my grandfather and many others in business and helps to support our economy. I understand that these are decent, hard-working people for the most part; I just think that there MUST be some way that ICE can cut its costs on these flights. Perhaps not renting luxury jets from Miami Air, which boasts of having customers such as President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, would be a good start to the cost-cutting process.
Jordan, Miriam. “Now Boarding: Illegal Immigrants On One-Way Tickets Home.” Wall Street Journal 17 Oct. 2008: A1+.
“Office of Detention and Removal.” Http://www.ice.gov/. 15 Apr. 2007. U.S. Immigration and Costoms Enforcement. 14 Oct. 2008