Deportation and Removal

The Washington Post recently noted that visa overstays get short shrift in border security debate.


I agree.

First, what is a visa overstay?

In short, this is a person who remains in a country after the period of the permitted visit has expired

According to the Washington Post:

  • 527,127 people who were supposed to leave the country in the 2015 fiscal year overstayed, and this figure includes only those who entered by plane or ship, not on land.
  • An estimated 40 percent of the 11.4 million people in the U.S. illegally overstayed visas.



For several years, the rate of deportations has risen dramatically.


Photo Credit: Washington Post

Despite the deliberately political manipulation of deportation statistics by both parties, the overall story is simple.

Deportation totals have consistently increased each year of Obama’s tenure in office, with the exception of last year, 2013 – which, in all likelihood, was due to the openly hostile yet civil protests against such government actions.

But removal from the U.S. is not simply a numbers game. (more…)

Having practiced deportation defense for nearly two decades, I’ve witnessed the agony of immigrants facing removal from the United States.

In most instances, they are faced with two unpleasant choices.

  • They can relocate their entire family to their home country, including those members born and raised in the U.S.
  • Or they can leave their family in the United States, while they return home, perhaps to never see them again.

Until recently, the plight of U.S. citizen children in the latter situation has been relatively unexplored.

In 2010, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), our nation’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration law, issued 33,000 decisions.

There are 15 Board members.

On the average, this means 2,200 decisions per Board member per year.

180 decisions per Board member per month.

Assuming a 40 hour week, 50 weeks per year, each Board member works 2,000 hours per year.

That’s 55 minutes per case.

Due process, a cornerstone of American jurisprudence, cannot be applied selectively.  Even if the beneficiaries are immigrants who have already been deported.

Aggravated Felonies Under IIRAIRA

Until 1996, most lawful permanent residents (LPRs) facing deportation due to criminal convictions were entitled to a merits hearing at immigration court.  An immigrant’s positive equities were balanced against the nature of an immigrant’s convictions. It was possible to win judicial forgiveness and a second chance to remain lawfully in the United States.

This changed when Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). (more…)

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