30,000 immigrants waiting for deportation in the US

The number of immigrants locked up in US jails has exploded in the past 15 years, after a law that allows "double punishment" was introduced. Today, 30,000 detainees are awaiting deportation.

The number of detained immigrants in the US has gone from 5,000 in 1994 to more than 30,000 in 2008 according to a study by OneAmerica, a non-profit organisation in collaboration with the Seattle University School of Law. The explosion in numbers is due to a change in the law passed in 1996, which classed almost any crime taken out by an immigrant as an "aggravated crime". Whether you're robbing a bank or just smoking a spliff, you're on the list.

When an immigrant's found guilty of an "aggravated crime", they will have already completed the length of their sentence by the time they reach the detention centre, to then wait for extradition. The law doesn't only affect those who've committed crimes after 1996. It's retroactive and so takes in crimes committed beforehand. Therefore, immigrants with a criminal record who leave the country risk being sent to a detention centre on their return and then extradited. While some Americans find the rule "unfair and insane", others consider it normal that immigrants are subjected to stricter rules than US citizens.

"The biggest problem with this law is that it’s retroactive"

Deborah Notkin is a spokesperson for AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organisation of attorneys specialised in immigration laws.

The 1996 law that eliminated all discretion for any minor offence is unfair and insane! Before that, immigrants who had committed a minor violation wouldn't have been kept in mandatory detention when re-entering the country. The situation would have been explained and relief would have been granted. This law makes arrangements impossible. Even though they might understand the situation and sympathise with the people, judges have no choice but to detain them. What's more; many detention centres don't appear to have controls in place; some of these facilities have been contracted out to non-governmental organisations. A well-funded anti-immigration lobby called The Pioneer Fund is responsible for this law. It's a xenophobic, white supremacist organization.

The biggest problem with this law is that it's retroactive. Non-citizens charged with small crimes before 1996 were systematically told by their lawyer to plead guilty because at that time they didn't risk much more than a fine. But now, since the law has changed, the same people risk being sent to detention centres if ever they venture out of the country and try to come back. Almost all crimes related to drugs or firearms are now considered aggravated offences."

"There is no reason why immigrants who break the law should stay in the US"

Ira Mehlman is the National Media Director for FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), a non-profit organisation that advocates reduced immigration.


Immigrants on US soil don't only violate the law when they commit a crime. They also violate the terms and conditions on which they're here. So since they have a different status than citizens, it's normal that they don't face the same charges. Immigrants have always had a special status as for law offences, but before 1996, it wasn't really enforced. In 1996, Congress made it more specific. We (FAIR) are advocating in favor of this reform. Millions of immigrants would be happy to come to the US so there is no reason why those who break the law should stay. Of course some cases should go to the bottom of the pile. If an immigration officer has two cases: one bank robber and someone who smoked a joint, he should go after the bank robber first. But there is nothing wrong with the law itself. And, just to give you an example, when you're arrested by an officer for driving 10 km above the speed limit, you can't say it's not a big deal just because some people drive 50 km above the limit!"

Live from jail: victims of the law



Two edge sword,goverments need these people to do jobs ,the americans wont do. or europeans somebody has to clean the streets ,run the train sevices all the jobs that pay a mininum wage,do the harvesting ,to keep profits for the few .like everything ,there is a saturation point ,it would be better to give aid to these countries and moniter what is done with it ,so it creates the jobs and wealth for its own peoplein in thier own countries.

Two edge sword,goverments

Two edge sword,goverments need these people to do jobs ,the americans wont do. or europeans----this comment is an out and out bald faced lie,its leftist propoganda that stinks to high heaven,try telling my French friends who live on the street that cant find a minimum wage job that the reason is because they wont do the work,they starve while the illegal aliens here drive nice cars from drug money,aside from sending their money to their country of origin and not back into the french or american economy,they also do not pay taxes,so the rest of us are forced to pay for their medical care,yes america gives them free medical care,its exspensive and they force the rest to pay for them,they are also guilty of having NO alliegence to the U.S or France,they BROKE IN LIKE A THIEF,and they should be forced to leave

-somebody has to clean the streets ,run the train sevices all the jobs that pay a mininum wage,do the harvesting ,to keep profits for the few---all these jobs you mention are done by MACHINES they are easy jobs,they DO NOT require illegal aliens to perform them,more to the point I want someone who has an EDUCATION to run those DANGEROUS machines,esp if those illegal aliens dont speak the native tongue....cant read the manual? go anyway!"

-to keep profits for the few--this statement tells me youre just being political and have no real solutions,everything yuove said is just "feel good" sound bytes

-like everything ,there is a saturation point--and we have reached that point a LOONG time ago.




1993--1,327,259------2001--1,266,213------2009----(beginning 10/01)


FACT: In the last 22 years, over 26 million illegals, have been apprehended, after crossing the border, into our United States.

THE PROBLEM IS: Less than 1, out of 4 illegals, are estimated to have been apprehended.

Mind boggling, isn't it.

According to the U.S. Immigration Service another 6 million illegals in this country are visa overstays. That is, they got a visa legally in their home country, they came here to visit and then they never left.

In the last 22 years, there have been another 4 million anchor babies born to illegals. Anchor babies are now being born at a rate of 350-400 thousand per year in our United States. All at our expense!!

Then the ANCHOR BABIES qualify for welfare, food stamps, section-8 housing, all at our expense.

American Taxpayers are getting screwed, over, and over, and over, again!!!

Each illegal immigrant, on average, costs taxpayers $9,000 PER YEAR, over, and above, anything they might contribute in taxes!!!