American Diaspora: The Deportation of Lawful Residents from the United States and the Destruction of Their Families
27 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2011
Date Written: April 25, 2007
This article discusses deportation of lawful permanent residents and the effects these deportations have on families. The focus of this article is on lawful permanent residents faced with deportation because of criminal convictions, and the effect of deportation on their families. It emphasizes the utter lack of rationality, compassion, and flexibility in the administration of immigration law and the need for reassessment of the current deportation regime. Part I reviews the legal and historical foundation for deportation, specifically the effects of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). Part II outlines the process of deportation. Part III chronicles the disruption of the lives of the U.S. citizen spouses, children, and parents of deportees and the misery of permanent exile the deportee faces. Part IV calls upon Congress to carefully reevaluate IIRAIRA and argues that increased attention must be paid to the social costs of deportation. While the deportation of so-called criminal aliens may often be an appropriate sanction and legitimate public policy, IIRAIRA requires automatic use of mandatory detention and deportation for people like Hemnauth Mohabir, at the price of destroying their families. This policy is beyond reason and contrary to our traditional notions of justice and the national interest.
Keywords: Immigration law, deportation, lawful resident, criminal law
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