Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, immigration courts have failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to this standard. A noncitizen has not truly had his day in court if he is removed without ever seeing a judge, if he does not have access to counsel and necessary evidence, or if the decision in his case receives only perfunctory review. The 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (“S. 744”) would take significant steps toward ensuring noncitizens have a fair hearing. This fact sheet explains some of the critical policy proposals found in S. 744 and the basis for them.
A system without sufficient protections
Deportation without a judge
In the current system, many immigrants who are removed never see the inside of a courtroom. In fact, the majority of noncitizens are returned to their home countries through accelerated processes that do not include a hearing before a judge. Even immigrants who are entitled to hearings may not make it to court if an immigration agent convinces them to agree to be deported before their first hearing. More than 160,000 immigrants agreed to these “stipulated removal” orders between 2004 and 2010; the vast majority were unrepresented and in immigration detention. Those whose cases reach immigration court appear before overburdened judges with insufficient time and resources for the cases in front of them.
Vulnerable immigrants without attorneysRead more...
Published On: Wed, May 15, 2013 | Download File