DESPITE PRESIDENT TRUMP’S tough talk about deporting millions of
“bad hombres,” the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants
in the United States have no criminal record. That poses a quandary for
deportation agents who, prodded by the administration to get tough, have
intensified the pace at which they round up not just criminal undocumented
immigrants, but law-abiding ones as well.
Of roughly 143,000 unauthorized immigrants living in the United States who were
arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 — a 30 percent increase
over the previous year — more than a quarter had no criminal convictions.
As for those who had been convicted, most were guilty of non-violent charges
including drug, traffic and immigration offenses such as re-entering the
country after deportation.
Many Americans may feel little compunction about ferreting out illegal
immigrants with criminal records, but what of the tens of thousands convicted
of no crime or never even arrested for one? Remember: Most unauthorized
immigrants (excepting those arrested at the border) have been living in
the United States for at least 15 years, and large numbers have spouses,
children and other relatives who are citizens.
The president’s hard-line posture is likely to play well with his
base; it’s not going to fundamentally change the scale of illegal
immigrants living in this country. Excluding illegal border-crossers picked
up at the Southwest frontier and quickly removed, about 82,000 illegal
immigrants were deported in the past year, a 25 percent increase from
2016 but not enough to make a big dent in the 11 million who remain in
the United States.
What’s more significant is the
apparent decline in attempted illegal border crossings, as measured by Border Patrol apprehensions, which, at
310,000 in fiscal 2017, hit a
46-year low. Fewer apprehensions mean fewer illegal crossing attempts. That’s
a good thing, reflecting, most recently, Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric,
as well as the continuation of a long-term decline since 2000, when apprehensions
exceeded 1.6 million. During that period, economic conditions have improved
inside Mexico and the Border Patrol has doubled its number of agents.
The broader dysfunction in America’s immigration system remains largely
unchanged. Federal immigration courts are grappling with a backlog of
some 600,000 cases, an epic logjam. The administration wants to more than
double the number of the 300 or so immigration judges, but that will take
time. And its
recent moves to evaluate judges based on the speed with which they handle dockets that
typically exceed 2,000 cases, rather than on fair adjudication, is a recipe
for assembly-line injustice.
Mr. Trump’s campaign bluster on deportation was detached from reality.
He said he’d quickly deport
2 million or 3 million criminal illegal immigrants, but unless he’s counting parking scofflaws
and jaywalkers, he won’t find that many “bad hombres”
on the loose. In fact, legal and illegal immigrants are much less likely
to end up in jail than U.S. citizens, according to a
study by the Cato Institute.
The president’s sound and fury on deportation signify little. He
has intensified arrests, disrupting settled and productive lives, families
and communities — but to what end? Only an overhaul of America’s
broken immigration system offers the prospect of a more lasting fix.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration law firm - we handle all immigration cases and represent
clients anywhere in the United States.
Our Miami immigration law firm offers a free in-office consulation in our
Miami office, which is located in the Brickell / Roads section. We also
provide telephone consultations with Mr. Revilla for a nominal fee.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Antonio G. Revilla III,
where he will review your immigration case and provide legal guidance
on how to proceed. Mr. Revilla is a Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor
and a Miami immigration attorney with over 25 years of legal experience.
Call: (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323
"We will fight to keep you in the United States"