The Arab Spring: Revolution and Shifting Geopolitics - Passed Beyond Our Aid

The Arab Spring: Revolution and Shifting Geopolitics - Passed Beyond Our Aid

U.S. Deportation, Integrity, and the Rule of Law

By: Daniel  Kanstroom

Daniel Kanstroom is a professor of law and director of the International Human Rights Program at Boston College Law School.


Excerpt - 35 Fletcher F. World Aff. 95

Shortly before the enactment of the harshest package of U.S. deportation laws since the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798, Barbara Jordan--then Chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform--said, "We are a nation of immigrants, dedicated to the rule of law...." 1 The following year, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, laws were passed that raised serious questions about both clauses in her statement.

Known by their acronyms AEDPA and IIRIRA, 2 the 1996 laws reflected a strong "national security" 3 and "crime control" orientation that radically changed and expanded the U.S. deportation system. Among other features, they dramatically (and retroactively) expanded many grounds for exclusion and deportation, creating mandatory detention for many classes of non-citizens; inventing new "fasttrack" deportation systems; eliminating judicial review of certain types of deportation (removal) orders; discarding some and limiting other discretionary "waivers" of deportability; vastly increasing possible state and local law enforcement involvement in deportation; and even permitting the use of secret evidence for non-citizens accused of "terrorist" activity. As a direct result of these laws, hundreds of thousands of people have been excluded and deported from the United States who--under prior laws--would have been allowed to become legal permanent residents and (probably) naturalized citizens. Moreover, the rule of law itself was changed in ways that are worthy of the most serious consideration.

These legal features remain part of U.S. deportation policy today, applauded by some, but increasingly criticized by observers ranging from human ...

 

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