Immigration Newsletter

Monday, August 30, 2010

Immigration backlog stirs move to release some U.S. detainees

Immigration backlog stirs move to release some U.S. detainees: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

from Shankar Vedentam at the Washington Post:

"The Obama administration is moving to release thousands of illegal immigrants detained at facilities across the country if the immigrants have a potential path to legal residency.
The move could affect as many as 17,000 immigrants who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. It comes amid a push by ICE to focus on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, rather than seek to deport all illegal immigrants. Officials say that the shift is needed to reduce massive clogs in the nation's immigration courts - where detainees wait for months or years before their cases are decided - and to use deportation as a tool for public safety."
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This is a modest proposal that should not be getting the anti-immigrant crowd into a lather at all. Every year the immigration courts get more and more backlogged. Part of the reason is that Homeland Security chooses to put people into deportation even though they have an application pending with USCIS that could grant them legal status. Alternatively, many people find themselves in deportation proceedings and then decide they need an attorney - the attorney then files the proper applications for their status.

The immigration judges can decide many of these applications - but so can USCIS (administratively) - without clogging up the courts. If the government attorneys (working for Immigration & Customs Enforcement "ICE") decide to terminate deportation proceedings - then the case can go back before USCIS to be finished. This also allows for the potential immigrant to be let out of custody (otherwise known as jail).

The ICE attorneys are not going to be terminating the cases of persons with criminal records or prior deportations. If it turns out that the person is not approved for legal status...they go back into deportation...it is not like a criminal trial that can subject to "double jeopardy" issues.

The only parties who should be moaning about this policy change are the municipalities and private corrections companies who make their money off holding non-criminal immigration detainees. I'm not about to shed any tears for them.