Deportation is Arbitrary
Who is Deported and Why
When we think of deportees, we usually think of criminals, of people who abused the system, but this is not necessarily the case. The Obama administration deported almost 400,000 people in 2011. Half of those were accused of no crime at all – their presence was considered crime enough. Of the half who were accused,
- 45,003 (ten percent of total deportees) were involved in drugs
- 27,635 were arrested for drunk driving
- 13,028 were arrested for minor traffic violations
Although some of these crimes are more serious than others, none of them fit the profile of the violent criminal, the "threat to society" which the Obama administration is supposedly targeting. In certain cases, immigrants who did commit such crimes, such as members of the Cambodian refugee community, are now being deported for actions for which they already served time in the criminal justice system. The myth of undocumented (or other) immigrants as "criminals" is simply not as clear-cut as it seems.
Unjust Deportation Proceedings
The deportation system is flawed not only in who it deports, but in how, and what kind of conditions deportees are subject to. Practices designed to "teach a lesson" expose immigrants to extreme danger and injustice.
The laws regulating immigration are so poorly written that much is left open to interpretation. Even immigrants with legal status are stripped of their rights when they come up against immigration courts, which mete out justice randomly, often based on the personal experience or prejudice of the judge in question. To top it off, potential deportees have no right to a court-appointed lawyer. Of the few lawyers willing to represent them, many are grossly incompetent. Even legal immigrants are denied the right to due process and to contest any charges held against them. They are not allowed a voice.
Meanwhile, even the treatment that detainees receive while awaiting their day in court is highly abusive and inadequate. Many detainees are held in regular prisons, despite the fact that they are not accused of any crime. Their personal safety is not considered a priority.
- In recent years, there have been around 200 allegations of sexual abuse within the deportation system.
- In the years between 2003 to 2010, 107 deportees died while in detention, their deaths never fully investigated.
Even simple details such as the deportation point itself can threaten the safety of deportees. A federal program known as the Alien Transfer Exit Program is charged with deporting immigrants at points which are thousands of miles away from the places at which they entered. Around 20% of undocumented immigrants arrested in the US southwest are deported under this program. Although it may be effective policy, it means that deported immigrants end up far away from their families and homes, and extremely vulnerable to local gangs and crime. This system shows a lack of respect for human beings made in the image of God.