Illegal immigrants living in San Diego may have more hope after a recent decision by a federal appeals court. The decision delayed the deportation of seven individuals until a re-evaluation of their deportation and removal proceedings, leading to speculation that other undocumented immigrants may seek the same type of discretionary ruling, possibly allowing them to stay in the United States indefinitely. The immigrants allowed to stay for now do not have criminal records but were ordered to be deported anyway.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted deportation proceedings for the seven individuals until the Obama administration reviews their cases in accordance with a prior directive of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Last year, ICE stated that it would review the cases of approximately 300,000 active cases involving people not currently held by immigration authorities. Officials fear that if others appeal their own deportation decisions, it may open the floodgates to questions about the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.
The policy, in addition to the postponement of the deportation hearings for the seven immigrants, may ease the backlog of current cases and focus the government’s attention on where they have said it belongs: people with criminal records, those with repeated violations of immigration law and fugitives. Those people would be moved to the forefront of deportation proceedings and would most likely be the first ones to be deported from the United States.
Immigration law and procedure continues to change rapidly. Those in or near San Diego affected by it would do well to be fully informed of all developments in order to take advantage of policies that may benefit them. Deportation and removal proceedings are understandably intimidating to those involved, and the best defense is to be prepared.
Source: Fox News, “Court ruling could prompt more deportation reviews,” Associated Press, Feb. 10, 2012