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November 8, 2018

Federal Judge Halts Family Deportations For Now

By Michael H. Joseph

With a wave of aggressive deporation activity by the Federal Government, Courts are beginning to strictly enforce Due Process rights and some Immigration Court Judges have begun to dismiss cases where the proper steps were not followed and when mmigration authorities have been found to skip steps in the process of deporting people, the Courts have strated to deny deportation requests. Courts have noticed that often, when Immigration Customes and Enforcement served notices to appear in court, they routinely left the court date blank. Because of that omission and a recent Supreme Court decision, tens of thousands of deportation cases could be delayed, or tossed out altogether. The Trump administration’s push to deport more immigrants in the country illegally has hit a legal speed bump and if you have a deportation order that was issued when the underlying paperwork was not sufficiently prepared to put you on notice of the date of the Court appearance, you may have grounds to have that deportation order vacated.

Consider the case of, Jose Silva Reyes, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. He was living in Arizona, under law enforcement’s radar, for years — until 2010, when he ran a red light and got into a car accident. Since then, Silva Reyes has been fighting in immigration court to stay in the country with his wife, a green card holder, and two kids who are citizens. He was due in court for his final deportation hearing last month, when the case against him was suddenly thrown out.

Like many undocumented immigrants caught up in President Trump’s recent crackdown, Silva Reyes has been in the U.S. for more than 10 years. If you’ve lived in the U.S. for a decade without getting into trouble, and without ever getting a notice to appear in immigration court, you could be eligible to stay. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, these immigrants can argue they never got a valid notice to appear in that 10-year time frame.

Immigration lawyers are arguing that if any immigrant received a defective notice to appear, the whole deportation case is invalid. Silva Reyes’ lawyer, said that he has already gotten dozens of cases tossed out using this line of reasoning.

But the federal government is fighting back. Government lawyers are appealing, arguing that immigration authorities did eventually notify immigrants about the time and place of their hearings, just not right away. Still, all of this is straining an already overburdened court system and with the increased deportation activity, Courts are starting to enforce these Due Process provisions.

“The Supreme Court threw a monkey wrench into what was already a not very smoothly functioning system, and things just get worse,” says former immigration judge Andrew Arthur, who is now a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors lower levels of immigration. The backlog in immigration courts has reached a record of nearly 750,000 cases, according to TRAC, an immigration research project at Syracuse University. And it’s still climbing — thanks in part to this technicality.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the Supreme Court ruling and its impact. However, our New York deportation attorneys are ready to challenge the deportation of any immigrant who had a deportation order issued based upon a faulty notice to appear.

 
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