A new report has found that immigrants facing deportation or removal proceeds are more likely to be successful now than in recent years. The study shows that almost half of the immigrants who are facing deportation won their cases last year. The report was conducted by the Transactional Records Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University and was published February 13th.
The report alleges that the government has actually been losing more deportation cases consistently each year since 2009. However, the report does not state how many removal cases ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had successfully appealed to the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals).
The report's findings show that immigration judges have ruled in favor of immigrants in about half of the more than 42,000 cases heard since the start of the 2014 budget year in October. In 2013, the government won right about 52% of their cases.
The report was also tracking cases won and lost in individual states. The study found that immigrants were more successful in states like California, New York, and Oregon. Meanwhile, an immigrant was less likely to win his case in Georgia, Louisiana, or Utah.
ICE spokesperson, Gillian Christensen stated that one reason for this change was because ICE enforcement strategies and priorities have shifted to focus more on “public safety, national security, and border security threats.” She went on to say that “ICE continues to focus on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”
These findings by the team at Syracuse University are pretty interesting. There are many people out there who are disappointed in the Obama Administration because of the high number of deportations recently. In fact, there have been almost two million immigrants deported by ICE since President Obama took office.
Meanwhile, the numbers don't lie. There is no clear answer as to why judges have been siding more with immigrants than in the past. Although, while immigration laws have not changed in the last few years, the way the laws have been enforced has.
This new idea of how to enforce immigration laws led to the government reviewing hundreds of thousands of cases pending in the nation's immigration courts a few years ago. At that time, there was a mass effort to get these cases processed. Even though thousands of the cases were actually dismissed, the number has again grown to more than 360,000 pending cases.
It's not completely clear what all of this data really means. Kathleen Campbell Walker, an El Paso immigration lawyer, contends that it may “be too soon to know what the TRAC data means for immigration enforcement.” She notes that it could simply be backlogged cases accounting for the deviation.
If and when immigration reform does get passed, it will be interesting to see how the new laws will affect numbers and studies like this one conducted by TRAC. What are your thoughts on this report? Are you surprised or encouraged by its findings?