Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia: Response to "Court Deportations Drop 43 Percent in Past Five Years"

Julia Preston’s article on deportations reveals a drop in the number of Notices to Appear (deportation charges) filed with the immigration courts in 2013. Like in criminal law, the immigration agency’s decision to refrain from bringing charges against a noncitizen is an act of prosecutorial discretion and in many cases can alleviate the burden on a court and provide a person with tenuous protection from deportation. But the picture of shrinking numbers at the courts is complicated by the overwhelming number of deportations that took place outside of the courtroom. In 2013, the majority of people deported never saw a courtroom or immigration judge, and instead were quickly removed by the Department of Homeland Security. That more than 60% of deportation decisions have been made by agency officers instead of judges is striking as are the human consequences of ejecting people who may have equities like a United States citizen spouse or qualify for relief before a judge. Notably, the agency has "prosecutorial discretion" to provide more procedural justice for individuals who might otherwise be subject to a truncated deportation. As the Administration deliberates on possible solutions to the deportation dilemma, it must at the very least provide a day in court for those might otherwise be removed without a process. (4.17.2014) 


Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar at the Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law and author of Finding Compassion in Immigration Enforcement: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion (New York University Press, forthcoming)


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