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"We should revert to the immigration laws that were in place before 1996. Under those rules, every immigrant who committed a crime had a meaningful hearing before a judge. He or she was able to present the facts of the crime, show proof of rehabilitation, and explain what contributions they had made to family, employers, and the community. Lost in the call to deport criminal immigrants is that many of these people had been lawfully living in the country for years. Some of them have served in the US military. Of the immigrants who stumble, many are the parents and spouses of US citizens. Deporting them comes at the cost of taking away family members from their citizen relatives.
Under the old rules, the immigration judge determined who deserved a second chance and whose conduct was serious enough to forfeit the right to remain here.
Our country is reevaluating how its criminal justice system works. People from the right and left are joining together for a call to end lengthy sentences and be — what they call —“smart on crime.” Only a mean or rich country spends millions each day detaining nonviolent immigrants, sweeping up the elderly, families, and even children in their net. Instead of treating every noncitizen who has made a mistake the same, we should return to — and learn from — past practices that are fair, cost-effective, and humane. In short, it’s time to be smart on immigration." - Prof. Kari Hong, Aug. 16, 2015.