Immigration reform opponents assert the need for stronger border enforcement. They argue the federal government has been inactive in cracking down on undocumented immigrants.
Deportations Increase To All Time High In 2009
Over the past year, deportations of immigrants again increased. Deportations are at an all-time high.
During the last year of George Bush’s tenure as President, there were 264,541 immigrants deported. Another 104,680 left the United States under voluntary departure orders.
This means a total of 369,221 immigrants were removed by the government from the U.S. in 2008.
In the first year under President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security reports 298,401 immigrants were deported. 89,389 departed due to voluntary departure orders.
The amount of immigrants deported increased 13% in 2009.
When deportations and voluntary departures are combined, there were 387,790 immigrants removed from the United States in 2009.
Perhaps even more shocking than figures from last year are the estimates for 2010.
According to recent studies, 400,000 immigrants may be removed this year. Of this total, nearly 70% are immigrants without criminal records.
The amount of deportations is only the tip of the iceberg.
Deportations Reflect Broken Families, Broken Dreams
Deportations are not singular events.
As an Riverside immigration lawyer, I know statistics do not tell the full story.
About 30% of deportations are the result of criminal convictions. Some are lawful permanent residents.
Of the permanent residents deported, as explained in The Impact of Deportation On Lawful Permanent Residents And Their Families, nearly 2/3 have been removed for minor non-violent crimes. The deportation of these non-violent offenders, over the past ten years, involved 88,000 U.S. citizen children.
Approximately 5.5 million children living in the U.S. have at least one parent who is lacking valid immigrant documents. Most of these children are U.S. citizens under the age of 10.
As deportation numbers climb, the number of U.S. citizen children forced to live without their mother or father will likewise climb.
In addition, many immigrants are deported even though their cases merited favorable judicial decisions.
Sadly, when immigrants are forced to go to Immigration Court to defend against deportation and removal charges, 57% go to court without an attorney. Many of these immigrants go alone because they cannot afford an attorney.
Even if you have a strong case, it is hard to win your immigration case without the help of an experienced immigration deportation trial attorney.
For those immigrants who go a step further – who challenge a judge’s deportation order by filing an immigration appeal – the obstacles are no less stern.
Rules which allow immigration appellate judges to issue decisions merely 2-3 sentences in length do not usually work in immigrants’ favor. Most immigration appeals involve complicated issues. As a result, the streamlined process often followed by judges on appeals undermines immigrants’ efforts to remain in this country.
With the amount of deportations rising, immigrants who lack proper documents should speak with a qualified immigration attorney before anything happens. Perhaps there are ways to help you earn a green card.
The same is true for green card holders who have been convicted in the past. Not all crimes carry the same consequences if you are picked up by immigration agents. You should learn more about your situation now, before anything negative takes place.
With deportations increasing, it is wise to assess your situation in advance.
By Carlos Batara, Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics