Immigration judges should be allowed to consider a person's family and social ties to the United States before ordering the deportation of legal permanent residents for minor offenses, says a professor at the University of California, Merced.
"The reason legal permanent residents can be deported for minor crimes — even if they have lived in the United States for many years — is that there is little to no due process in immigration courts," sociology Professor Tanya Golash-Boza said. "Under current laws, if a person has a prior conviction for a wide range of crimes, the judge has no judicial discretion."
Ninety-eight percent of all deportees are sent to Latin America and the Caribbean even though people from those countries do not make up 98 percent of all immigrants, she said.
"U.S. deportation policies are draconian and target specific populations," Golash-Boza said. "Unfortunately in the current immigration reform debate, this has little chance of changing."