Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Does Deportation Work?

New Report Sifts Through Complicated Proceedings

Immigration policy is often discussed in sweeping, over-simplified terms. Beyond the op-ed commentary is the complicated reality of how an illegal alien travels from point A, their first contact with law enforcement, to point B, their country of origin. Discretion, logistics, and copious paperwork by law enforcement and judicial officials separate the two points.

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies, “Deportation Basics: How Immigration Enforcement Works (or Doesn’t) in Real Life,” discusses the ground-level process of what is now called 'removal proceedings' and the issues that surround it. The report is available at

Among the findings:
A large percentage of aliens flee from removal proceedings – perhaps as many as 59 percent of all those released to await hearings. On a cost basis from the alien’s perspective, this makes sense. If you are in proceedings and have little chance of relief, why not treat the bond money (if it’s even required) as the cost of having been caught, and then flee, hoping to stay under the radar for as long as possible, perhaps until the next amnesty?

Though fashionable in the Obama administration, the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” is problematic for ICE field officers. If the alien that they decline to remove goes on to commit a heinous act, they could be subject to lawsuits from victims and will be held accountable by their own agency (even if agency leadership encourages them to use the tool).

Even in today’s technology-driven world, charging an alien with immigration violations is a paperwork-intensive, cumbersome process that requires agents to fill out nearly 20 different forms each time.

ICE officers are supposed to consider two key factors in determining whether to detain or release an alien in proceedings – if the alien is a flight risk and if he is a risk to the community. The latter factor obviously is given serious consideration, but it is equally obvious from the large number of absconders that officers don’t give the same weight to the likelihood of flight, especially considering the scarcity of funded detention space.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for several types of due process for aliens, depending on their circumstances of arrival and stay. The law does not require that all removals be ordered by an immigration judge.

The option of Voluntary Return, where the alien requests to be returned home in lieu of formal removal proceedings, is not really “voluntary,” but is beneficial to the alien because it carries fewer consequences if the alien returns illegally. It also has become subject to overuse or misuse in recent years as a tool to increase the volume of removals, at the expense of more formal methods of removal that have more deterrent value.

Immigration law provides for seven ways to remove an alien, which are explained in the report. Four of these options are relatively efficient, but used less frequently. If ICE chose to expand their use, the workload of the immigration court could be reduced and the immigration enforcement system would be less dysfunctional.

The total number of apprehensions of illegal aliens by immigration enforcement agencies is less than half of what it was five years ago. For instance, the drop in apprehensions by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is often explained by improvements in border security; however, this rationale is suspect, as has been pointed out by the Rand Corp. in a study of border metrics. But ICE apprehensions also have dropped steeply, although there has been only a modest drop in the size of the illegal population inside the United States.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Jessica Vaughan,, (202) 466-8185. The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Fewer students to win skilled migrant visas to Australia

FAR fewer overseas students will be able to parlay Australian qualifications into skilled migrant visas under tough new rules, Monash University researcher Bob Birrell says.

They may account for just 4000 visas a year, compared with 19,352 visas for this group in 2006-07 and 17,552 in 2007-08, boom times for the business model in which education was sold as a pathway to migration.

Dr Birrell said the unpublished Department of Immigration and Citizenship estimate of 4000 was "an unmistakable signal that the industry needs to set its marketing around selling an education that is valuable back in the country of origin".

A series of reforms, including a new skilled migration points test from July 1, have weakened the policy link between education and migration.

Announcing changes last year, then immigration minister Chris Evans famously said under the old rules cooks and hairdressers would qualify but not a Harvard environmental scientist.

The new regime favours offshore rather than onshore applications and advanced rather than basic skills. The benefit of having a relative in Australia has all but gone. "The changes will favour overseas applicants from English-speaking countries who can meet the much tougher English language requirements of the new points test," Dr Birrell and colleagues say in a report from the Monash Centre for Population and Urban Research.

The report gives new insight into the "stockpiling" of thousands of overseas students by DIAC. These include many students with cookery and hairdressing qualifications who would win visas under the old rules but whose cases have been put off and who are now on bridging visas.

In December last year, there were 29,211 former vocational education students on bridging visas, as well as another 26,309 former higher education students. About 16,000 of these former students had applied for skilled migration visas. In 2009-10, there were 28,126 applications for the graduate skilled bridging visa that is held by many former overseas students caught mid-stream by policy reforms.

The Birrell report predicts some of Mr Bowen's hypothetical Harvard scientists will have to wait as his department works through this backlog of students with lower skill levels. "Unpublished statistics show tens of thousands of former overseas students will benefit from the transitional arrangements in place," the report says. "Applications for permanent residence from these students will crowd out better qualified applicants for several years."

But a DIAC spokesman said applicants "who demonstrate the skills most needed by the Australian economy" always would be processed first.


No comments:

Post a Comment