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In Settlement, Homeland Security Agrees To Reform 'Voluntary Departures'

The Department of Homeland Security is settling a lawsuit with the ACLU, which deals with immigrants who were improperly pushed to leave the country. The suit alleged that DHS agents coerced immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to take part in a process called "voluntary departure."

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Corrected: August 26, 2014 at 9:00 PM MST
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies states in this story that the settlement would allow "hundreds of thousands" of immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally to return. The American Civil Liberties Union disputes that, saying the number of people who might be allowed to return "will only be a small fraction of the total number of people subjected to voluntary departure in Southern California during the relevant period."
As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.