Opinion: Illegal Immigration, Separating Truth from “Untruth” Part Three

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Sean Newhouse
News Editor

Due to the continuing national discussion over illegal immigration in the U.S., the need for fact-checked and accurate information is more important than ever. This three-part article series seeks to correct, clarify and contextualize some of the more popular misleading statements on the subject.

  1. How does deportation work?

It’s not a short, simple process. First, an accused unauthorized immigrant is arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Often, these individuals are first arrested either by local police or Border Patrol.

Individuals found within 100 miles of U.S. borders and who have been in the U.S. fewer than two weeks are deported through “expedited removal.” President Donald Trump is considering expanding this to include people caught anywhere in the U.S. and who have been in the U.S. two years or less.

For those who are not expeditiously removed, they are detained or possibly freed on bail or on their own recognizance.

At this point, some individuals opt for voluntary departure, which means they may be able to legally enter the country again at a later date.

After a hearing, the immigration judge gives a ruling whether or not the individual can remain in the U.S. These rulings can be appealed. If the appeal fails, the person is then deported.

The length of this legal process is partly based on the fact that unauthorized immigrants have constitutional rights, including due process.

Each deportation costed ICE an average of $10,854 in FY 2016

  1. What does ICE do?

ICE is responsible for identifying, detaining and deporting individuals in the U.S. who violated immigration law. Generally, Border Patrol, not ICE, was the agency separating families attempting to illegally enter the U.S.

However, ICE does somewhat achieve greater news coverage because it deports unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. interior (non-border region). This means they oftentimes deport individuals who have lived in the U.S. for years and who may have families in the U.S.

  1. Why do some Democrats want to “Abolish ICE”?

“Abolish ICE” became a rallying cry on the political left in the aftermath of families being separated at the border.

It means different things to people who are saying it. Some, it would seem, truly want to eliminate ICE. (Again, ICE is different from Border Patrol. So this does not mean these individuals want unprotected borders.) Others have publicly said they want ICE to be majorly reformed.

Despite their differences, both Obama and Trump have tried to deal with illegal immigration. In the coming months, Congress will need to pass immigration reform or risk continued confusion spurred by great differences in presidential policy.

Accurate information presented in context must be an integral part of that future debate for both legislators and the public, especially when even the smallest change can greatly impact millions of individuals living in the U.S.   

These are not exhaustive articles on illegal immigration. If you want me to address another question or claim or if you noticed an issue with any included statistic, please email me at newhouses1@udayton.edu.

Part One and Part Two of this three-part article series can be found through the links provided.

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Cover photo courtesy of Mary McLoughlin//Opinions Editor and Peter Kolb//Print Editor.