Thousands of deportation cases are back up for review, according to the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. Immigration judges previously suspended the cases indefinitely, many of which were deemed low priority. In total, more than 355,000 cases that were suspended indefinitely or administratively closed may now be restarted.
Increasing Number of Deportation Case Restart Requests
In May 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions remarked that immigration judges should not have the authority to indefinitely suspend immigration proceedings by administrative closure because it effectively allowed individuals without any formal legal status to stay in the country indefinitely. Attorneys for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have pursued nearly 8,000 deportation case restart requests so far this year, as compared to only 4,847 such requests during the last year of the Obama administration.
Current Administration’s Stance on Immigration
To alleviate court calendar backlog, the Obama administration considered the circumstances of deportation cases and generally suspended cases that were deemed low priority, such as undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal convictions. However, the current administration is requesting the restart of these cases in order to increase the number of deportations, according to some.
The Trump administration has made its stance on immigration clear in at least three ways this year. First, it cancelled the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving DACA recipients to face an uncertain future. Second, it released the National Security Strategy (NSS), in which it identified immigration as an issue of national security. Third, President Trump issued an executive order denouncing sanctuary jurisdiction such as Philadelphia.
Reasons for Motions to Reactivate
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated that it intends to restart cases in which individuals were arrested for a crime after the administrative closure of their cases. For cases closed using prosecutorial discretion, the agency will review the reasons for closure to ensure their validity.
The spokesperson for the National Association of Immigration Judges notes that the reasons for motions to reactivate have expanded as compared to previous administrations. Such motions were once usually filed due to the subsequent arrest, charging or conviction of an individual. However now anyone may be viewed as having a potential ground of removability.
Thousands of Immigrants Will Be Affected
Over 355,000 immigrants now face the possibly of having their cases reactivated after years of administrative closure. Whereas they could previously rest assured that they were not involved in active deportation proceedings, they now face the possibility of having their cases reactivated. According to an analyst at Migration Policy Institute, this will likely have a psychological impact on tens of thousands of immigrants.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Immigrants Facing Deportation
If you are facing possible deportation or you just want to learn more about your legal rights and options, contact an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Our skilled attorneys have decades of experience working with various immigration agencies and handling all types of immigration issues. From our offices in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the state and nationwide. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-925-4435 today.