Hari Sreenivasan: The Trump administration's attempt to limit immigration also includes efforts to remove undocumented immigrants from the United States. And there is now evidence that some immigrants are feeling the pressure and choosing what is called voluntary departure, asking the courts to allow them to return to their country of birth rather than waiting in detention centers. In a recent investigation, The Marshall Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit news organization in partnership with POLITICO found that the number of voluntary departures doubled from 2017 to 2018 reaching a seven year high. Christie Thompson, staff writer at The Marshall Project joins us now from Seattle. I tried to give an explanation of it but explain how these voluntary departures work.
Christie Thompson: So it's a complicated idea. So voluntary departure is a term in immigration law that allows someone to leave the country without actually having a deportation on their record. And if it's granted by a judge it means that they have a little bit more control over how and when they leave the country. And it also means they don't have to wait quite as long to apply to come back to the US. On the other hand, it also means giving up your fight to stay in this country.
Hari Sreenivasan: And what kind of people qualify? You said that a judge can grant that. So who gets these?
Christie Thompson: Voluntary departure is only available to people who don't have a serious criminal background. And that's something that was really important in our findings is that there's been this huge increase in people that are applying for voluntary departure, a seven year high, nearly 30,000 applications last year. And what a lot of experts told us is that that's a sign of how indiscriminate immigration enforcement has gotten under Trump because only people that don't have a serious criminal background that haven't been involved in a lot of crime are eligible and that's who's applying.
Hari Sreenivasan: OK. And how does it work? I mean is it that once you get this you automatically get a plane ticket home?
Christie Thompson: So first you have to apply. A judge has to deem that you're worthy and eligible to be given voluntary departure and then you actually have to buy your own plane ticket home and that can be a real barrier for folks because those plane tickets are actually far more expensive than if you and I were to try and buy a ticket to Mexico City. It's a special kind of ticket that has to be able to be changed at any time so it can be thousands and thousands of dollars just to fly back to Mexico. Then you buy your ticket and if you don't leave the country by the date the judge says, it automatically turns into a removal order and then you're facing deportation.
Hari Sreenivasan: The supporters of the president have got to be relatively happy about the findings from your report saying hey, we want to create disincentives for people to either overstay or we want them to leave voluntarily?
Christie Thompson: Right. And the Justice Department has definitely painted this as a win for the Trump administration. They published these numbers lumped in with deportation data saying this is a sign of the return to rule of law and that enforcement under the Trump administration is working. Their goal of getting more people out of the country whether it be through deportation or voluntary departure, that's happening. On the flip side, it's also a sign that even though Trump spends a lot of time talking about these hardened criminals in his political speech that a lot of the people that were sweeping up are people who don't really have a serious criminal background. People who a judge thinks are worthy enough of getting voluntary departure and that's who these people are. It's not those you know top hardened criminals that Trump likes to talk about.
Hari Sreenivasan: And considering the backlog in the system, is it possible that judges are trying to get through their own queue faster by granting more of these?
Christie Thompson: That's definitely something that we were told. Former immigration judges told me that they were worried that the pressure on this huge looming backlog and the pressure from the Justice Department to really move through cases more quickly might be pressuring judges to try and wrap up cases, offer voluntary departure because that means someone's getting out, you're not going to be tied up in a lot of appeals or dragging out the court fight even longer.
Hari Sreenivasan: All right. Christie Thompson, staff writer at The Marshall Project joining us from Seattle. Thanks so much.
Christie Thompson: Thanks for having me.
1.remove from 移除
When the fruit is mushy and cooked, remove from the heat.
2.get out of 逃离
How did we get into this recession, and what can we do to get out of it?
3.tied up 忙于
He's tied up with his new book. He's working hard, you know
他正忙他那本新书 。他在辛勤工作，您是知道的 。
4.in partnership with 合作
The research was funded by the government of Mozambique in partnership with IRRI.
5.be eligible to 有资格
Millions of householders are eligible to claim the new council tax benefit.
哈里·斯瑞尼瓦桑：特朗普政府试图限制移民，其举措包括但不限于从美国驱逐未做登记的移民 。现在有证据表明，一些移民正感受到这股压力，并选择自愿离境 。他们请求法庭能准许他们回到出生国，而不是在美国的拘留所里等待 。在最近的一次调查中，无党派的非营利新闻机构马歇尔计划与新闻网站POLITICO进行了合作 。他们调查发现，自愿离境的移民人数在2017年-2018年间实现了翻倍，创7年以来的新高 。克里斯蒂·汤普森是我台的特约撰稿人，下面请听她从西雅图发回的有关马歇尔计划的报道 。我想阐述一下这件事以及自愿离境的机制 。
克里斯蒂·汤普森：自愿离境其实还蛮复杂 。这个术语源自移民法，意思就是移民离开某个国家的时候，其记录上不会有被驱逐出境的痕迹 。一旦经过法官准许，那么移民对于自己离开美国的方式和时间就稍微有了一些主动权 。这同时也意味着他们不必等那么长的时间，就能申请回到美国 。另一方面，自愿离境的方式意味着放弃留在美国的抗争 。
克里斯蒂·汤普森：自愿离境只适用于没有严重犯罪记录的人 。而我们在调查中发现了很重要的一件事：申请自愿离境的人越来越多，达到7年来的新高，去年有3万人申请自愿离境 。而且已经有很多专家告诉我们，这种现象表明特朗普政府关于移民的执法力度很大 。因为只有没有严重犯罪记录的人才有资格提自愿离境，而且符合要求的人也都在申请自愿离境 。
克里斯蒂·汤普森：机制首先是要申请自愿离境。法官要来判定申请人是否符合获得自愿离境的资格 。获得批准后，需要自掏腰包买机票 。这对于移民们来说是巨大的阻碍，因为机票要比咱们去墨西哥的机票贵得多 。因为这是特殊机票，要能随时改签，所以价格可能达到数千美元，哪怕只是回墨西哥 。买到机票后，如果申请人不能在截止日期前回国，那么法官就会将判决自动转为驱逐令 。
哈里·斯瑞尼瓦桑：特朗普的许多支持者可能会对您报告的内容比较满意 。也就是说，我们能设置一些门槛，让移民要么逾期滞留，要么自愿离境 。
克里斯蒂·汤普森：没错 。司法部认为这是特朗普的一项政绩 。他们公布了与驱逐出境有关的数据，并表示这表明美国回归到了法治社会，也表明特朗普政府的执法工作已见成效 。他们的目标是让更多的移民离开美国，无论是通过驱逐出境还是自愿离境的方式 。而这个目标正在逐步实现 。另一方面，这也表明，虽然特朗普在政治演讲中花费大量时间讨论惯犯的问题，踊跃申请自愿离境的人都没有什么严重的犯罪记录 。这些人都是法官人们符合自愿离境标准的，而不是特朗普经常提到的那种惯犯 。
克里斯蒂·汤普森：我们听说确实如此 。之前负责移民事务的法官跟我说，他们担心即将到来的巨大工作量会造成很大的压力，而且司法部也在施压，敦促尽快审理自愿离境的申请 。所以，法官们可能会尽快审批，在符合的情况下，提供自愿离境的批准 。因为这意味着有移民离境了，那么申请就不会积压那么多，法庭上也不会有更长时间的拖延 。
哈里·斯瑞尼瓦桑：没错 。感谢特约撰稿人克里斯蒂·汤普森从西雅图发回的有关马歇尔计划的报道，非常感谢 。