The Wall Street Journal today profiles ICE Air, an airline with service to exotic destinations like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Indonesia, and Cambodia. It offers leather seats with custom headrests and in-flight service with box lunches. The forty-pound checked baggage allowance is not enforced. It also has high load factors: “We are making a valiant attempt to overbook.” Would you like to fly ICE Air? Well, unless you’re an illegal immigrant being deported to your home country, you’re out of luck:
This carrier is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency responsible for finding and deporting undocumented immigrants. A crackdown on illegal immigration has led to a spike in deportations and the creation of a de facto airline to send the deportees home.
The air service, called Repatriate by air-traffic controllers, is known simply as ICE Air to agency employees. . . .
In all, the U.S. government deports people to more than 190 countries. Outside of Mexico, ICE flew home 76,102 illegal immigrants in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from 72,187 last year and 50,222 two years ago.
Now Boarding: Illegal Immigrants On One-Way Tickets Home [Wall Street Journal]