Deportation is the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Deportation works in different ways and occurs for different reasons. During the Obama Administration, the policy was only to deport illegal immigrants who had made their way into the United States or those who had been affiliated with gangs or terrorist organizations. Although the goal was to reform the deportation process under his watch, efforts largely failed because of the inability to distinguish the threat to public safety and small drug charges.
The goal was to pardon others who had minor convictions, and moreover to not send them back to their countries or origins unnecessarily. Regardless, this post is meant to better understand how deportations have become more widespread under the current administration, and how the policy works, and might how some procedures might be undone as a transfer of power takes place in just a few weeks.
First off, deportations are the most common amongst those who have entered the United States illegally. In some instances, the way the USCIS finds out about illegal flows is through green card applications. An individual should not apply for a green card if they were undocumented in the first place, as this is grounds to be put into removal proceedings by the U.S. government.
In general, filing forms with the USCIS does not relate to being deported. However, small charges or convictions, as of 2017, have replaced the Obama era regulations of only deporting illegals in the country. The new and current policy is more strict, and states “no unauthorized immigrant would be exempted from being arrested and removed from the country.”
In general, this is problematic for the immigration process because it makes applicants of I-485 Forms and Naturalization forms feel as though if they have even done something slightly wrong they might be under grounds of removal from the country.
Here are some of the problematic issues related to deportation that applicants should be concerned about, but also realize might change during the upcoming transfer of power:
- The threat of deportation due to small crimes such as the possession of marijuana
- An inability to distinguish how one entered the U.S. because of fear of persecution from their host government (asylees)
- A redefining of what constitutes a threat to public safety
- A better system for providing critical healthcare while an individual is detained (sometimes months at a time).
Currently, with long wait times due to Covid-19 and the backlogs experienced by the USCIS, it would do wonders to reform the deportation writ large. While the act of deporting individuals might be reserved for certain circumstances such as a threat to national security, it should be an all-inclusive policy that seeks to remove individuals in which regular U.S. citizens would not receive even close to the same treatment—as is common during the detainment period.
Overall, immigration as we have covered refers to the I-130, I-485, and N-400 Forms in which immigrants and non-immigrant visa holders seek to either obtain permanent residence in the U.S. or move forward in becoming U.S. citizens. These forms are entirely separate from deportation matters, but it is sufficient to say that deportation is still a part of immigration policy. With a new transfer of power, we might see a gradual decline in deportations and the ability for immigrants to have their cases adjudicated instead of being put into removal proceedings.