Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jill Family: Local Prosecutors as Deportation Gatekeepers


Jill Family in Local Prosecutors as Deportation Gatekeepers reviews Stepehen Lee's article De Facto Immigration Courts, 101 Cal. L. Rev. 553 (2013). She summarizes the thesis and importance of the article as follows:

"Professor Lee’s article identifies and explores an underexposed phenomenon arising from immigration law’s dependence on criminal law and criminal procedure. . . . Professor Lee’s work reveals that when Congress set up the immigration laws to rely on criminal convictions to determine who may join or who must leave our society, Congress in effect gave state and local prosecutors a major role in the selection process. This is an important discovery, for it calls into question the true nature of a conviction-based removal—is it based on an exercise of federal or state power? Administrative adjudication is also implicated. This is an area not fully explored by Professor Lee. If prosecutors hold the power to dictate whether someone is removable, that effectively neuters the administrative immigration courts. If immigration judges are powerless in the face of a conviction, then the role of immigration judges is simply to give effect to the result in state court. The immigration court system is effectively avoided if a prosecutor has achieved a result in the criminal court system that leaves nothing for an immigration judge to do."


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