US Court System Sees Greater Backlogs

In June of this year, there was an approximate 40% increase in the number of undocumented immigrants who were arrested. In fact, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrested approximately 14,000 people last month alone. This has instilled fear among the undocumented population in the US, but ironically, it did nothing to actually increase the number of deportations under the Trump administration. Deportations surprisingly dropped to their lowest level as the US court system continued to see an increase in the number of immigration cases that are pending before courts. Today, if an undocumented immigrant gets arrested by an ICE official, he or she could face years without knowing the status of his or her immigration case. According to Syracuse University, the immigration cases that are pending before the US court system exceed 610,000.

Undocumented Immigrants and Their Backgrounds

A significant percentage of the undocumented immigrants involved in these immigration cases have criminal histories, but the administration has also focused on people who have only committed the act of residing in the US without permission. Between January and April of this year, about 40,000 people were arrested due to their supposed illegal status. Of that 40,000, about 30,000 had committed crimes such as assault and murder. That leaves 10,000 people, 10,000 people who did not commit murder or assault, but rather, resided in the US without permission. These are people who have already established homes in the US and consider themselves part of the American fabric.

At a time when immigration is at the forefront of the Trump administration, immigration reform seems vital for the US. Instead of arresting and eventually deporting immigrants without criminal histories, we should be focusing on discovering solutions to their illegal status. By arresting these individuals who have done nothing to justify the title, “illegal,” we are creating an environment that contradicts a nation comprised of immigrants and a nation that values diversity.

The Trump administration claims that it is simply doing its job by arresting those who live in the country illegally. Yes, that power is within its discretion. But, is it right for the government to exercise this authority? It is one thing to arrest and deport someone who has committed a felony, but a great percentage of undocumented immigrants work hard to support their families and live in the US because their home countries are unsafe and have fewer opportunities. This begs the question. Should we be complacent and not seek immigration reform? The American government needs to ask this question and provide its answer. If not, the backlogs in the US court system will remain unnecessarily high and the nation’s values will be tarnished.

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Sources:
  1. Gomez, Alan. "Immigration arrests up, deportations down under Trump." USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, n.d. Web. 27 July 2017.
  2. Press, Associated. "ICE: More immigrants arrested, fewer deported under Trump." Chicagotribune.com. N.p., 17 May 2017. Web. 27 July 2017.

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