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The "cost" of deportation: $23,000 per person

Even as immigration reform remains debated in the Congress, deportations continue to take place regularly across the northeast and across the country.
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    January 30, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The "cost" of deportation: $23,000 per person

Article provided by The Law Office of Cheryl R. David
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Even as immigration reform remains debated in the Congress, deportations continue to take place regularly across the northeast and across the country. However, it is almost never in the headlines, and rarely reported in the news at all. Previously, federal customs officials conducted employment raids in which workers without proper documentation were whisked away. Today that strategy is less common. As reported by USAToday, Laurie Martinez, who works with immigrants in Wisconsin, stated that in the 1990s "[t]here was a backlash, children left behind. . . . Now it seems to be they're targeting people in jail, in the prison system."

Deportations and so-called "sweeps" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents remain active all over the country across the country, but federal agents use a different approach. Immigration targets specific individuals rather than workers or a place of business. In 2008, Congress was directed to change its focus and prioritize criminal immigrants, not just those without proper documentation. ICE now targets criminal immigrants and those who pose a danger to national security or public safety. Those individuals targeted primarily have serious criminal records or had run-ins with immigration authorities in the past.

The reason for the change? There are diminishing resources available to ICE and the cost, roughly $23,000 per immigrant. The numbers tell the story: since 2008, the number of convicted criminals deported nationwide has increased 89 percent, while the number of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions has dropped 29 percent. Last year, ICE deported 409,849 people, 96 percent of which fell into the agency's enforcement priority definition, which covers criminals, threats to national security and repeat violators of immigration laws.

The enforcement even reaches into the heart of Manhattan, where hundreds of New York's immigrants are locked up as they fight deportation. Importantly, immigrants who obtain proper legal representation win their cases at a significantly higher rate than those who do not obtain representation. However, just over one-third of immigrants obtain counsel.

Even if you are certain that the government has grounds and you are deportable, there is relief that may be available to you. You may qualify for adjustment of status--a term used to describe the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident. There are multiple ways to adjust status, but most adjustments are based on a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member, typically a child, parent, or spouse. Cancellation of removal under ? 240A(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act is another avenue that may be available to those facing deportation. If you have nothing else available, and you truthfully fear returning to your country, an application for Withholding of Removal may also be an avenue.

If you find yourself facing deportation, representation by an experienced New York immigration lawyer is essential to insure all remedies under the law are explored and pursued.

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