Language barriers may lead immigrants to waive right to hearing before deportation

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Jun 6 15:29:11 UTC 2008


New Report: Language Barriers May Lead Immigrants to Waive Right to Hearing
Before Deportation <http://nakasec.org/blog/1138>

42

<<re-posting from the National Immigrant Justice Center>>

http://www.immigrantjustice.org/news/detention/stiporders
<http://www.immigrantjustice.org/news/detention/stiporders>

Newly available federal data shows a steady increase in the number of
immigrants in administrative detention who have signed deportation orders
waiving their right to see a judge.  The National Immigrant Justice Center,
through a Freedom of Information Act request, collected data showing that 94
percent of the 80,844 stipulated orders of removal signed between April 1997
and February 2008 were by immigrants who spoke primarily Spanish, and most
had not been charged with a crime.       Typically, when an immigrant is in
administrative detention, he or she has the right to locate a lawyer and go
to court to seek relief to stay in the United States.  But when an immigrant
signs a stipulated order of removal, he or she agrees to be deported
immediately and waives the right to see a judge. *Key Data*The National
Immigrant Justice Center compiled the data received from the Executive
Office for Immigration Review, the federal agency that adjudicates
immigration cases.   Highlights include:  1.                   *The use of
stipulated orders has increased steadily since 2004. *In 2004, 5,000 orders
were signed.  That number increased to 15,000 in 2005 and 25,000 in 2006.
Last year, 30,000 stipulated orders of removal were signed.  2.         *More
than half of the stipulated orders were signed in four cities.*Twenty
percent were signed at the Eloy Detention Center located 70 miles southeast
of Phoenix, Arizona; 16 percent were signed by judges in Chicago; nine
percent were signed by judges at the immigration court in Lancaster,
California (near Los Angeles); and six percent were signed by judges in
Seattle.3.         *The majority of deportees have no criminal background.
*Eighty-five percent of detainees who signed stipulated orders of removal
had no criminal charges. Nearly 68,478 were detained on a single civil
charge because they entered the United States without proper inspection or
overstayed a visa. *Policy Recommendations*Specifically, NIJC urges the
Executive Office for Immigration Review and the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security* *to adopt the following four recommendations:

   1. Limit *pro se* (no attorney) stipulated orders of removal and develop
   guidelines regarding the use and distribution of stipulated orders of
   removal
   2. Ensure that the Immigration Judge has all of the relevant information
   about each case before signing off on the waiver of a hearing
   3. Educate detainees about their options – including any relief to which
   they might be eligible as well as the consequences of signing the order
   4. Provide immigrants without criminal records the option of "voluntary
   departure" so that they have an opportunity to later seek legal status in
   the U.S.

*Colombian Woman Ordered Deported to Mexico*While some detainees choose to
sign stipulated orders because they prefer deportation over detention, the
National Immigrant Justice Center and other legal aid providers know of many
cases in which detainees signed the forms unknowingly as a result of
language barriers, disingenuous jail staff, or general misunderstanding of
the deportation consequences, including a 10 year restriction on re-entering
the United States. Many immigrants who sign the stipulated orders of removal
are not aware of their legal rights or potential for eligibility to remain
in the United States.* *

Last year, the National Immigrant Justice Center provided legal assistance
to a Colombian woman who had unknowingly signed a stipulated order of
removal indicating that she was deportable to Mexico. This woman did not
understand and was too frightened to realize that she agreed to be deported
– and to a country that was not her own. She realized the mistake and told
an ICE officer but was ignored until a NIJC attorney intervened to have the
order rescinded. The attorney soon realized that the woman was afraid to
return to Colombia and had an asylum claim, which she is pursuing.

http://nakasec.org/blog/1138




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