Archive for December, 2010

Dear ICE, at least play fair.

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

A few times I have written about what appeared to me to be an Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy of taking aliens out of the United States without the aliens availing themselves of their right to see an immigration judge by providing false information about the consequences staying and fighting a case as opposed to leaving. I learned of this through speaking to many aliens and family members of aliens who experienced this. This modus operandi was confirmed by a December 6, 2010, Washington Post article. Reporter Andrew Becker wrote:

Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal e-mails and interviews show. Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said.

The option, known as voluntary return, may have allowed hundreds of immigrants – who typically would have gone before an immigration judge to contest deportation for offenses such as drunken driving, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault – to leave the country. A voluntary return doesn’t bar a foreigner from applying for legal residence or traveling to the United States in the future. (more…)

TRAC Report Shows Misapprehension of Immigration Court Role

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

TRAC, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which describes itself as a data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University issues statistical reports about immigration court matters. TRAC reports analyze backlogs in the immigration courts and compared statistics about grant rates for different types of cases in the different immigration courts and by immigration judges. On November 9, 2010, it issued a report, “ICE Seeks to Deport the Wrong People,” which analyzed the results of immigration court proceedings and concluded that ICE seeks to deport the wrong people because so many aliens who are placed in removal proceedings are not ultimately ordered removed. (more…)

Visa number retrogression is shockingly cruel

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Someone called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me about the “new law” they heard about on TV that allows people to bring their families here without delay right away. I explained that there are some new laws under discussion – they have been under discussion since 1996 when “the great triangulator”  signed an immigration reform law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) that made many harsh changes to the law. (Lets hope seeing him at the bully pulpit this week discussing how politics works is not a portent for how his mentee will handle immigration reform legislation with the new Congress, to wit, agree to making the laws tougher for everyone). However, I know of no newly passed law. I wondered if the caller misunderstood something he saw on Spanish TV where either because of viewers’ hopes distorting their perceptions of what they hear, bad reporting, or because Spanish tenses are as complicated  for actual speakers as they are for U.S. high school kids studying Spanish, speculation about what legislation may pass was confused with legislation having actually passed. (more…)

What a difference a panel makes.

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

People who study tests, whether they are good tests are not, use the concept of “reliability.” A reliable test is one that measures the knowledge of material consistently across time, individuals, and situations. So for example, if you give a history test on Monday and 20 percent get A’s and 20 percent get F’s, and then you re-test the next Monday and a different 20 percent get A’s and F’s, the test is not reliable.

In the immigration context, people often appear before an immigration judge to seek relief from being deported. Practitioners often come away from court thinking things like, “If I only had had a different judge, my client would have won,” or, “If I had had any other judge, I would have lost.” This is a good example how concerns about reliability make themselves felt every day. (more…)