Welcome to Illegal Immigrant Air

De facto new airline shuttles aliens home
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2008 10:44 AM CDT
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office has a sign in its window advertising Operation Scheduled Departure Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008, in Santa Ana, Calif.    (AP Photo/Ric Francis)
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(Newser) – There’s a new airline in town, and it’s offering all the amenities: leather seats, ample legroom, free food, and impeccable service. There’s just one problem: Its passengers would usually rather not be traveling, the Wall Street Journal reports. Welcome to ICE Air, the de facto new airline born from the recent crackdowns on illegal immigrants.

ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement —operates 10 aircraft, flying to more than 190 countries. Excluding Mexican deportees, the agency flew 76,102 illegals home in the past fiscal year. The WSJ tagged along on one flight in a 737-800 to Guatemala. The seats were comfortable, the food lousy, and the service friendly. It was a normal flight, in other words, and some were even happy to arrive home.