Over the past decade, government funding for immigration enforcement has more than tripled, laws like the 1996 Immigration Reform Act (IIRIRA) have increased the power of enforcement officers to monitor and detain non-citizens, and the immigration detention system has become the fastest growing section of the U.S. prison industry. In this climate, the dangers of over-reaching enforcement practices that breach the basic civil liberties of immigrants (and citizens alike) has grown tremendously.
A possible defense in criminal immigration cases, immigration counsel can argue that reversal of a removal order is required when an immigration judge plays an improper prosecutorial role in the proceedings. When the judge abandons his or her role as an unbiased arbiter of fact and law, and becomes a prosecutor, the court contravenes its responsibilities as a neutral fact finder.
The Immigration Court's decision should be reversed if the record clearly demonstrates that the judge played a prosecutorial role outside the scope of the court's responsibility as an unbiased trier of fact and law. The judge clearly acts as an aggressive prosecutor if s/he attempts to establish that the Respondent was guilty of a crime.
Developing situations in immigration and criminal law include:
- The increasing number of immigration raids throughout the state and the country.
- South Carolina's new bill; its central planks forces employers to screen new employees' citizenship by one of basically two ways: using a federal Web-based verification system, or by requiring an S.C. driver's license, which is only given to citizens.
- San Francisco's sanctuary ordinance, which shelters non-citizens, even if convicted of a crime.
Tagged as: immigration consequences
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