Immigration changes in this country make the news often. Many people have strong feelings about the topic, but there is no doubt that this country needs to address some points in the immigration detention and deportation process. Taking a look at some facts sheds light on this.
One issue is that Black immigrants face an uncertain fate here. A report from Black Alliance for Just Immigration notes that more than one out of every five immigrants that are facing the possibility of being deported because of criminal charges are Black. If you compare the numbers, it is evident that more Black immigrants are deported because of a conviction than other races.
It is no secret that criminal activity can lead to an immigrant being removed from this country, but there is some misconception about what types of crimes can do this. Some think that is it only aggravated felonies or violent crimes. This isn’t at all the case.
A study by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University found that around half of immigrants who were targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation due to criminal activities didn’t have any convictions. Those who did had convictions for drunk driving, assault, drug trafficking, burglary, marijuana sales or traffic offenses. Hardly any had convictions for serious crimes.
The issue is that detainers for criminal action from ICE are turning into a witch hunt. It is extremely rare for a noncitizen to commit a serious crime. Yet, ICE frequently issues detainers without having the full story about what’s going on. One man served three years in a state prison and then had to spend nine years for deportation adjudication. He was eventually released on a $1,500 bond but still has to wonder what is going to happen to his as his case goes through the courts.
The issue of long-term detention is another one that this country needs to address. There isn’t any reason for immigrants to face yearslong detention without the ability to leave the facility while they await their court dates. If you have been detained or think you will be, now is the time to formulate a plan for addressing the problem.