ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

As Deportations Increase, So Have Officials’ Attempts to Deport the Wrong People

As deportations have increased under the Obama administration, immigration judges have also increasingly denied requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people who were legitimately entitled to stay in the country, according to new data obtained by Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse.

From July to September of this year, for instance, almost a third of all deportation cases brought by ICE were rejected by immigration judges—up from 12 months earlier, when the rate was one out of every four. According to TRAC, judges have rejected removal orders for more than a quarter of a million individuals in the past five years.

While the judges’ exact reasons remain unclear, records from the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review indicate that many times, immigration officials had either tried to deport the wrong people or requested dismissal because they didn’t have enough evidence to justify deportation. In some cases, judges also granted relief [PDF] because of an individual’s refugee status, a pending application for change of legal status or for some other reason.

ICE has refused to turn over more detailed data on the deportation cases that were rejected by courts, according to TRAC. In lieu of more data, TRAC noted the following questions:

The new findings about the broad failures in ICE efforts to deport individuals raise two important questions that might be answered with the more extensive data that the agency has sought to withhold from the public. One involves the effectiveness of the agency: is it targeting the individuals for removal who in fact should be deported? The second question concerns the basic fairness of the process: what is the impact on those individuals the agency has wrongly sought to remove who were entitled to remain in the United States?

When we asked about the immigration cases brought by ICE that were rejected by judges, ICE spokesman Ivan Ortiz-Delgado said his agency has “no say in what the decision of the immigration judges is going to be,” and reiterated that his agency’s priority is to “remove criminal aliens first.”  

The new statistics coincide with a smattering of local reports, which in recent months have noted that immigration courts across the country are increasingly dismissing some deportation cases for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Here’s a Miami Herald story, for instance, that ran just last week:

In August and September, for example, judges at Miami immigration court dismissed 631 deportation cases compared to 449 in June and July.

In fact, the 324 cases immigration judges dismissed in August was the highest monthly case termination figure in the last 12 months, according to statistics the Justice Department's immigration court system released last week.

… While immigration court officials would not speculate on why judges are terminating more cases than before, some attorneys said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement trial attorneys now seem more willing to drop deportation cases against certain foreign nationals.

Last month, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee called for an investigation into the increase in dismissals of deportation cases, alleging that Homeland Security officials are selectively enforcing the law based on “chosen enforcement priorities.”

As we’ve noted, one potential cause for the dismissals could be the staggering backlog of cases in immigration courts—a number that has risen to record levels along with the rise in deportations under the Obama administration.

This week the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that while dismissals don’t seem to be increasing in Las Vegas, the backlog there is at an all-time high, having ballooned by more than 80 percent this year.

TRAC’s data also show that the trend of rejected deportation cases depends on the court, but the top five in this fiscal year were New York City (with 70% of cases rejected), Portland (63%), Los Angeles (63%), Miami (59%), and Philadelphia (55%).

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It would be interesting to know the percentage of deportation cases successfully processed by ICE versus those dismissed by the courts.  Given the agencies mandate and specialty, we would presume they have a high success rate as they are armed with the inner knowledge of what judges/courts require for a case to be successful.  Then again, the reluctance of ICE to provide more detailed data on cases may suggest other forces and/or problems within the agency other than a “backlog” at the court level.

With the DoJ’s law suit proceeding against Arizona over the Illegal Alien law, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the incidents of dismissals are at an all time high.  There is pressure from the highest office in the country to turn a blind eye to all the criminal activity, including raging ID theft, people being in the US illegally, human trafficking, drug cartel’s bullying and murdering people in the US, and kidnapping.

There is a siege going on in our border states and all this administration does is try to throw out propaganda that they are doing more than others before them, which is an outright lie unless they’re talking about bringing their law suits against states for trying to protect their citizens and putting on the pressure to insure that these criminals remain in the US.

More to the point, the public needs to know exactly why judges dismissed these cases especially in Miami.I have a feeling we will not like what the truth is as it will probably confirm that our judicial system, like our political system, has been compromised.

Compromised? Corrupted is more like it. The more people charged, the more money the agency will receive? People being turned in out of animosity and not illegality? The companies that wrote the arizona law so they could build prisons to hold the women an children, as well as prisons for men, have every interest in seeing that they get as many prisoners as possible….. we have a bad human rights record in this country and there is a reason for it….there’s money to be made by incarcerating, deporting, people…...money for prisons, or govt. agencies, what’s the difference in the long run? it’s all corruption. Easier to deport people to turn the attention away from the unwillingness to go up against the drug cartels. Human trafficking? My bet is that the guys at the top of the income heap are making money on that trade, one way or another. One person’s propaganda is another persons realistic vision. One person’s realism is another’s propaganda. It takes thinking to know the difference. It’s so easy to be persuaded that the problems are caused by the Other. Not our own people.

Oregon, Washington state, & California, embrace indigent illegals, with their multiple and stolen ID’s. They call them the “NEW AMERICAN”

These states want them? Fine, cut OFF all FEDERAL DOLLARS for welfare, stimulus giveaways, educational funds and ALL federal dollars, and STOP the ANCHOR BABY BS!

American taxpayers are now supporting over half of Mexico’s GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, WITH THE STEALING OF OUR AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS TO SUPPORT THEIR UNEDUCATED, INDIGENT POOR!

One way to end this crap, is to put to a vote whether the private taxpayer wants THEIR government employees UNIONIZED! Get the unions out of government and this will give the power back to the people.

Mary, you are the portrait of a hater and a hypocrite—screaming about folks who have not had the access to education you have, and then exposing your purposefully proud ignorance for all to see.  I wish folks of your ilk weren’t allowed to express opinions in forums for thinkers until they passed reality based tests on the subject.  While I’d be happily unaware of vile folks like you, I’d be denying people the truth of the blissfully banal hatred and ignorance in America.  This doesn’t change the fact that what you think you understand about immigration fits into a doggy poop bag.

I suppose people reading this story would have a completely different view if they were born and raised in a dirt-poor village in Mexico, or a slum in some other country. In addition, since when is it OK for a government agency to “withhold” information from the pubic? Do we need a civics lesson?

Mary, yes, you sound very EDUCATED: you do know how to use the Caps Lock, and to your credit that takes some training.

Marje Hooper is right. We blame the guy who deguts a pig for a living. But we forget that those who caused the financial chaos, who lied to homeowners, who denied health care, who gambled with your grandmother’s retirment money—and who continue to profit tremendously—were born here. (and no, their parents were not Mexicans)

Mary might just get her wish. If the current presidential commission has its way, Mary will lose some or all of her govt. welfare, in the form of reduced or deleted home buyers tax credits, reduction in educational aid for her college age relations, and school grants for the white, american, red-white-and-blue blooded US kids in her family—which means they will not only be deluded by Mary and her Ffffox buddies, but will be denied the educational benefits of well-funded public schooling…oh I can hardly wait til the next generations in her family are uneducated, indigent and poor…and trying to get in to Canada for a chance at a better life…and Canada has border fences and guards to keep the pure white north american hordes out.
We need more unions, not fewer, to fight the unregulated capitalist elite for better wages and working conditions and single payer healthcare. America is a banana republic, owned by the healthcare etc industries. Get educated, or suffer the consequences….and they will be dire…..

Oh, wait, I’m wrong. Mary, I think,  is just one more sad case of someone who feels left out of the fake prosperity she sees around her. And the media outlets she prefers feed her resentments. And stroke her ego, by telling her how superior she is to the people below her, distracting her from the damage being done by those above her on the economic and social scale.
Everybody needs a dog to kick, and she’s found hers.
I despair for the America I love…..

Tiddas, Marje, Thstick and others, who support lawbreakers coming to America.

I to, wonder what country I live in. The privileged, trust fund children, elitists and those working for government dependent on those indigent illegals, are taking FOOD OFF THE TABLES OF LEGAL CITIZENS, and are turning this country into a third world country!

We have LEGAL citizens in this country who are suffering and going without. What do YOU do, YOU take from those citizens here in this county and give it to law breaking criminals!

YOU, ARE THE ONE’S LIVING IN THE WRONG COUNTRY!

Cut off ALL social programs and start fining those who hire the illegals, and see how long they stay here.

Alex
Are you going to do stoop labor to harvest your fancy lettuce? Pickyour own pears and peas? If you are willing, then maybe you can complain about those who PUT YOUR FOOD ON THE TABLE! The article is about people wrongly deported. How, I wonder, would you feel if you were deported, despite being an american citizen or here from another country for an extended legal visit with your family? Jail, court, fear, intimidation, that would be okay for you, right?
I agree that there are many culprits in this issue, but feel it helps to show a little care in choosing whom we despise. Remember that first it was the gypsies, then the mentally ill, then…and then…... and when the truth came out the blonde-headed, blue eyed people denied any knowledge of the carnage…..
Why are many legal citizens going without? Not because of corporations that suck the lifeblood out of you?
Not because of self-interested politicians that sucker you into believing they care about YOU, while voting against your best interests?
Not because of the need for the US to keep good relations with Mexico so they wont cut off the oil supply, which is one of the larger sources of our fuel?
Not because people in the media make 20 million a year telling you how it’s all the fault of ordinary people pushed by poverty into finding a way to feed their families? Finger-pointing gone amuck…..
I wonder just how far you would go to feed you and yours if you lived in central america, where americans have meddled and ruled for two centuries or more. American created the banana republics (look it up) and fomented wars in guatemala and honduras and lord knows how many other places. Read some history and see if your compassion button is not entirely broken. And if you are ready to pick your own—and my—vegetables, or cut, de-feather and debone your own chickens, more power to you…you are better than I, who would do it for me and mine, but not for you….since you are one of the ‘others’ .........(chuckle…)

marie, take your cause to the source, MEXICO!

We are all paying 100 times what that head of lettuce costs in social services for all the illegals who are here sponging off and taking from American citizens and producing all those anchor babies for me and others to support!!

Take your bleeding, liberal heart, and you misguided fight for justice for the poor illegal, to Mexico! My $$$$$ and sympathy is with needy LEGAL AMERICANS!!

The reason for all the deportation arrests:  there is no statute of limitations on immigraton offenses.  My stepson, in this country since age one and has a green card, got picked up by ICE 2 weeks ago for a 13 year old marijuana posession charge, a misdemeaner for which he did not serve a single night in jail.  It will now take 7 weeks to get a bond hearing! (he is in a private holding facility—a tent).  ICE has a 5.7 billion dollar budget.  There is no money for schools or for a proper investigation if your daughter gets raped, but, we have unlimited money to chase after 10 to 30 to 50 year old trivial offenses committed by legal residents (many of which are not deportable offenses).  And you question why so many deportations are denied by judges.  Of course ICE does not want to open its records.  Imagine being arrested today and being able to see a judge for 7 weeks!  Your life will be trashed.  There is only one goal here:  harassment.  God Bless America.

Sorry, Jesse. This is my country, too. I ain’t leaving just yet. My pine box is not built.

I just get so sick of the ‘anchor baby’ crap when families are being separated by immigration and the mother is being sent back south of the border and her child stays in the US. I know, I know, they are aware of the risk they take. But this is supposed to be such a humane country. It’s people who rant the teevee propaganda who turn up the hate meter and show me that there is a lot of hate here. It’s no different now than it was when the Irish, Chinese, Italians, etc came over in earlier centuries to do the scutwork and have a better life. “No dogs & no Irish” signs were posted on businesses in this country. In other places, all Negroes knew to be out of town by dark or suffer the consequences. I’ve lived in places like that in the south. The haters are always with us, and right now they seem to have the upper hand. But you will someday look back and see that the people who finance the hate-mongering on tee vee are making a bundle of money off your anger. How much are you getting out of it? 
If you are a social worker, you are making a living. If you are an ICE agent or border patrol, you are making a living. If you are a military person trained to KILL, you have a job.  If you are a prison guard, you have a job. Sounds like a lovely country, doesn’t it? Then there are the people at the top you don’t even hear of who are making gazillions manipulating your life through their stock market deals and their support staffs; and election spending (printers, speech writers, event planners, limo drivers, security people, ‘consultants’ of all sorts). Wow, all good jobs. 

If you are competent at your job, and don’t have one now, I suggest you aim your anger at the people who sent jobs offshore, those who created the housing bubble, those who somehow have the misguided idea that not paying you decent interest on your savings is a good thing, and so many others. You are being deflected by corporate America from placing the blame for your troubles right where it belongs, on corporate America. It’s no different than it was in the 1920s, when corporate America broke this country. No, blame the poor folks at the bottom of the heap who want to live without the danger of being shot in the night by a drug dealer or a para-military; who want the chance to see their kids grow up instead die of mal-nutrition; who will work harder and longer than most Americans; who was welcome when he was the carpenter putting the roof on your house in the hottest days of summer, but now you have your house is dispensable.
Your resentment and bitterness doesn’t hurt one bit me or other loyal Americans who disagree with you and your programmers.  I still sleep soundly. But my own life experience tells me it’s eating at you from the inside every hour of your day. You are entitled to believe what you want to, just as I am. I don’t tell you to leave this country because you disagree with my perspective. Oh, and btw, who do I read gets the most social services and welfare in this country? Not the brown people you despise, but white folks…...I wonder how many of any color you actually support?????

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