Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Two Systems of Justice: How the Immigration System Falls Short of American Ideals of Justice

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"There is a growing consensus that our immigration system is broken.  Severe visa backlogs hurt U.S. businesses, undocumented workers are frequently exploited, and record levels of deportations tear families apart.  While much energy is now focused on addressing these problems, one issue that is frequently overlooked is the structure and quality of justice accorded immigrants who are caught in the enforcement net.  In reforming our immigration system, we must not forget that the immigration removal system—from arrest to hearing to deportation and beyond—does not reflect American values of due process and fundamental fairness.

The failure to provide a fair process to those facing expulsion from the United States is all the more disturbing given the increasing “criminalization” of the immigration enforcement system.  Although immigration law is formally termed “civil,” Congress has progressively expanded the number