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What are the cruelest and most mean-spirited aspects of immigration law? It’s a close call, but in my view, Department of Homeland Security detention rules and deportation regulations is at the top of the list.
Detention and deportation rules and regulations have torn thousands of families apart. They often leave children without parents. Many immigrant children, themselves, face deportation – without adult supervision. Many adults are deported to remote regions to their home country, with little or no money, resources, or access to their relatives.
Then there’s the ongoing militarization of our country’s borders with Mexico and hundreds of unexplained deaths at the border and in nearby deserts.
In this set of curated news stories, we’ll take a look at mandatory detention, expedited deportation, and many other horror stories reflecting the role of DHS in creating a us-them approach to immigration law enforcement.
This collection of news stories is intended to supplement and amplify the information provided on our pages for Deportation Defense legal services.
GPS Ankle Bracelets To Track Immigrant Families: A Temporary Detention Policy?
DHS Is Using GPS-Enabled Ankle Bracelets To Track Immigrant Families Crossing The Border
Alicia A. Caldwell, Huffington Post, December 24, 2014
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security Department began a pilot program, using GPS ankle bracelets, to track immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border.
Almost immediately, the announcement was criticized by immigration reform friends and foes alike.
Under the program, ICE officials plan to monitor 250 parents apprehended trying to enter the U.S. with their children in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, after they pass ICE screening and are cleared for release inside the U.S.
I suspect this use of GPS devices is not the end of the electronic monitoring story.
For more, continue here: GPS Ankle Bracelets To Track Immigrant Families: A Temporary Detention Policy?
Central American Refugee Crisis Leads To Increased Detention Profits
Private Prison Stocks Soar As Companies Cash In On Incarcerated Immigrants
Nicole Flatow, Think Progress, September 2, 2014
Understanding the U.S. immigrant detention system can be confusing to those unacquainted with how deportation policy works.
Take the Central American refugee children influx.
On the one hand, some critics assert the U.S. government is too soft on the refugee children.
On the other, refugee supporters argue that the U.S. is rushing the children through the immigration court system, not following asylum law protocol and violating constitutional principles.
Meanwhile, according to a recent news report, quietly in the background, the profits for immigrant detention center investors are soaring.
For more, continue here: Profits And Prisons: Detention Stocks Rise On The Backs Of Refugee Children
CIVIC Launches Detention Voices Video
Given the deep pockets of the private prison industry, dedicated countervailing organizations are needed to protect detained immigrants.
The Community Initiatives For Visiting Immigrants In Confinement (CIVIC), a national nonprofit, is one such group. Their goals include reuniting immigrant and mixed status families, as well as ending the isolation and abuse of immigrants trapped in the detention system.
This week, they released a new video series which shares the world inside California’s detention centers though the stories and experiences of detainees.
The video series, quite appropriately, is named, Detention Stories: Lives Inside California’s New Angel Island.
The film was produced under the direction of technical coordinator, Will Coley, a well-respected figure in immigration circles.
Why Reinstatement Of Removal Lacks Due Process
Being a deportation and removal defense lawyer, the story of separated families is not uncommon.
In my view, more than any other issue, family separation fuels the currently increasing level of civil disobedience in support of genuine immigration reform.
A U.S. citizen spouse walks into my office. She asks why her immigrant husband was not allowed a hearing when he tried to re-enter the country. He left because his mother was dying. He knew the risks. But even if he got stopped, she want to know, why was not given time to hire a lawyer?
Besides, she notes, she is a citizen and they have three U.S. born children. She feels like her family has no rights.
She acknowledges that her husband was deported once before, several years ago, for a minor offense. He went to jail for a few weeks, was released, went to immigration court, and lost his case without a full trail.
Therein lays the problem.
The new deportation order is called a reinstatement of removal. .
For Immigrants Who Return After Deportation, Little Chance At Due Process, Say Advocates
In 2013, 43 percent of detainees – 159,524 people – removed by ICE were issued a “reinstated final order of removal,” according to ICE data analyzed by the Immigration Policy Center.
Those who are deported and make it across a second time, only to be caught again, face a different threat. The first time an immigrant enters the country and is met by Border Patrol, they are charged with a petty misdemeanor. For entering the country a second time, an immigrant can be charged with a felony. This comes with a 20-year-entry bar, and about two years of jail time.
In many instances, however, the real problems stem from the first deportation order. Due to changes which took place in 1996, many immigrants were left without an opportunity to defend themselves. They were not allowed to present evidence on the significance of their family and community ties.
For those who did qualify to present such evidence, the courts were allowed to impose a higher standard than in previous years on issues like the hardship which would fall on the family if the immigration spouse was deported.
The lack of due process protections, in short, catches immigrants before and after they are deported. Not exactly a great system of justice.
Deportation And Detention Policy Absent From Immigration Reform
What Immigration Reform Could Do For Deported Immigrants
ABC News, Ted Hesson, July 2, 2013
Even though the Senate’s immigration bill would create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, writes Hesson, there’s another group that could be affected: the deported and those who were once undocumented but chose to leave.
Supporters of the Senate bill assert the proposal will help these groups.
They assert the Senate bill would allow previously deported spouses, children and parents of permanent residents and citizens to apply for a provisional immigration status. The same would go for some young immigrants, aka DREAMers, who lived in the U.S. but have since been removed or voluntarily left the country.
I disagree with Mr. Hesson.
As much as I like the sound of such an outcome, I highly doubt such a provision will survive the final Congressional cut.
The operative word is “to apply for a provisional immigration status.” What will be part of the application process? What is a “provisional” status?
Opponents lament giving a path to legalization to those who entered unlawfully. Why would they soften towards those who entered without permission, left, and now want to return?
I also do not believe they would allow those who have already been deported to return. Even with the most stringent requirements, for many who oppose immigrant reform, this would be pure political poison.
The real key in these issues is not part of the current immigration reform. Revise deportation and detention policies by eliminating many of the 1996 immigration changes which cut off immigrants’ hopes for discretionary relief.
Without righting what is wrong with our current policies, they remain in effect. How can anybody think, absent this type of deep change, that the Senate immigration bill will help undocumented immigrants who have been previously deported or separated from their families?
Immigration Reform: A Pathway To More Deportations?
How Immigration Reform Could Expand Incarceration of Immigrants
Colorlines, Seth Freed Wessler, Feb. 6, 2013
Despite record-setting deportation levels in recent years, Republican members of the House Judiciary committee want even more enforcement before they could sign onto the comprehensive reform ideas laid out by Senate negotiations and President Obama.
“There is not in my opinion very much enforcement going on at all in the interior of the country,” said Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican.
In 2012, the federal government spent over $2 billion on detention operations, a nearly 150 percent increase from just seven years ago. And the two leading private detention companies, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, together netted about $425 million in revenues from their ICE contracts.
In July the government put out a call for a 14th privately run facility—a 1,000 bed prison with a $25 million price tag. And a report released in September by the Government Accountability Office revealed that the BOP projects the addition of 1,500 more inmates to these facilities every year, increasing the population of the prisons by 50 percent by the end of the decade.
I do not support the current immigration reform proposal. This article covers one of the biggest areas for my dissent.
When one looks at the sheer numbers of immigrant detention centers, it shows a dramatic growth in federal spending for incarceration and deportation. It also reflects how immigration law has shaded into treating undocumented immigrants as criminals, rather than simply civil law violators.
In fact, immigrant detention is at the front and center of current so-called immigration reform debate. The title of S.744, the Senate’s immigration reform legislation, is the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
“Border security,” which appear at the front of the proposed reform bill, are the political buzzwords for detention and deportation.
Like the phrase “border security” shows up at the front of the bill’s title, detention and deportation are the foremost issues driving immigration reform legislation for many members of the House and Senate.
As Ms. Wessler points out, immigration detentions have risen dramatically in the past ten years.
So have the numbers of deportations.
Meanwhile, immigration detentions have not been expanded, but also privatized. And the push for more private centers continues in the name of immigration reform.
This opens the door for more, not less, deportations. I don’t view immigration reform as reducing the number of immigrants detained and incarceration. Rather, I think quite the opposite is more likely to be the end result of current reform negotiations.
In short, Colorlines is on point.
Related Articles And Posts
Here are some more links to interesting news articles on the Department of Homeland Security and immigration detention policies published the last few months.
If you think we’ve missed out on anything important, please let us know in the comments.
Welcome To America’s 10 Worst Immigration Detention Centers (Map)
Mother Jones, Ian Gordon, July 13, 2013
U.S. Flies Deportees Deep Into Mexico To Discourage Returns
Fox News Latino, July 12, 2013
What We Spend on Immigration Enforcement
National Review Online, Doris Meissner, Jan. 11, 2013