Saturday, March 26, 2016

242.3 - Outrage of the Week: citizens deported as "illegal aliens"

Outrage of the Week: citizens deported as "illegal aliens"

One of the things that is in some ways unfortunate about the Obama administration is that it is in some ways fairly liberal. Which means also that it can get away with things with liberals that a more conservative administration could not. Which brings us to the Outrage of the Week.

The Obama White House has always presented two different faces about immigration. It has on the one had supported such worthy proposals as the DREAM Act and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. At the same time, it has been deporting such undocumented people in higher numbers than any previous administration.

Part of the issue is that while the idea of "right to counsel" seems firmly ingrained in our social consciousness, we often forget that that only applies to criminal cases in regular court. If you are wrapped up in an immigration case, you have no right to legal counsel. If you can't afford a lawyer, TS Mac, you're on your own. Which is why the Clown Award for two weeks ago involved a judge talking about 3- and 4-year-olds representing themselves in court.

The result of this has been, to what should be no one's surprise, a pattern of abuses and wrongful decisions. They are many and varied, but I'm going to focus on just one as an illustration.

According to extensive research by Jacqueline Stevens at Northwestern University, between 2003 and 2010, the appropriately acronymed ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unlawfully deported about 20,000 US citizens.

Obviously, most of that happened before Obama became president, but that doesn't absolve him, not only because the pattern continued into his presidency but because he has done nothing to stop it even as overall deportations accelerated.

A study of deportation cases in the period January 1, 2011 to September 30, 2014, discovered that over a quarter of them had to be dropped because the assumed "illegal alien" was somehow able to prove that they are a US citizen. We can only wonder how many others, unable to afford an attorney, got railroaded right out of the country in the midst of - or as the result of - rushed proceedings pushed through overloaded immigration courts without proper research or background.

And the Obama administration, it must be noted, is fighting a suit by the ACLU calling for indigent immigrant children - not even adults, just children - be provided counsel.

At the same time, as part of its ongoing crackdown on undocumented immigrants, at the end of February the administration began targeting so-called "sanctuary cities," cities that shield migrants from deportation, saying that undocumented immigrants released from federal custody who are facing state criminal charges will no longer be turned over to local authorities but directly to ICE.

It appears that we are so ready to sweep up just anyone who looks the part into our dragnet that we don't even care if US citizens are illegally deported - just so long as we rid ourselves of a politically-useful number of brown people.

And that truly is an outrage.

Sources cited in links:

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