FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Treat Them Like Criminals (They’ll Have More Rights)

by TANYA GOLASH-BOZA

Much of the controversy over Alabama’s HB 56 and Arizona’s SB 1070 is related to those provisions that criminalize undocumented migrants. What is rarely mentioned is that criminal law requires more procedural protections than immigration law. If immigration law treated immigrants like criminals, immigrants would have more rights.

Immigration proceedings in the United States are civil, not criminal, in nature, and do not include all the  due process protections  afforded to people accused of crimes. Non-citizens can be detained without a bond hearing to assess their flight risk or danger to society. They can be deported without due process.

Robert Bautista , currently being detained without bond at York County Prison, is well aware of his lack of legal rights as an immigrant detainee. In 2002, Mr. Bautista was found guilty of 3rd degree attempted arson for carrying a container of gasoline near his own vehicle and was sentenced to five years of parole. Seven years later, in 2009, as he was returning home from vacation, immigration agents arrested and detained him.

When Mr. Bautista was placed in detention without the possibility of a bond hearing, he had been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 25 years, married for over a decade, had three school-age children, and was the owner of a successful business in Pennsylvania. His mandatory detention caused his family business to be destroyed and his family to lose their home. His wife, a U.S. citizen, visits Mr. Bautista every week at York County Prison, often bringing the children with her. Their U.S. citizen children must bear witness to their father being treated as if he were a criminal, but without the procedural protections normally accorded to people charged with crimes.

Mr. Bautista’s two years in immigration detention are not pursuant to any criminal convictions – he has already completed his parole. He is not being charged with any crime; immigration detention is preventative not punitive.  Instead, he is being detained because he faces deportation and is not eligible for a bond hearing.

In 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) argued that his 2002 conviction of third degree attempted arson was a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), Mr. Bautista was considered to be seeking admission to the United States, as if he were not present in the country, and as if he had not been living and working in this country for over two decades. As person not technically inside the United States, Mr. Bautista was not protected by the Constitution.  With a CIMT, Mr. Bautista could seek out cancellation of removal: his deportation order could be rescinded. However, just one hour before his hearing, DHS argued that third degree attempted arson is also an aggravated felony, meaning that Mr. Bautista would be subject to mandatory detention and deportation without judicial review.

Mr. Bautista’s lawyer, Raymond Lahoud , contested this classification, as no previous case of 3rd degree attempted arson has been declared to be an aggravated felony. If Mr. Bautista could win the argument that 3rd degree attempted arson is not an aggravated felony, he would have the chance for an immigration judge to hear the equities in his case. In an aggravated felony case, it does not matter if you have lived in the United States for three decades, if you have three children, if you have no relatives in your country of origin, or if your family depends on you for their survival. People convicted of aggravated felonies are not given a fair and reasonable hearing of the sort that would meet international human rights standards.

On October 10, 2011, the  Board of Immigration Appeals  (BIA) heard Mr. Bautista’s case and decided that 3rd degree attempted arson is an aggravated felony.

This determination that 3rd degree attempted arson is an aggravated felony means Mr. Bautista cannot challenge his deportation on the basis of his ties to the United States. Instead, Mr. Bautista faces mandatory deportation to the Dominican Republic, where he will be labeled a criminal deportee and faces a bleak future. The Dominican government treats arriving criminal deportees as if they were criminals – they are booked at the city jail, and their deportation is recorded on their criminal record, making it nearly impossible to secure employment.

Were Mr. Bautista to be afforded the due process protections we give to criminals, he would have had a bond hearing and likely would not have been detained for the past two years; he would have the opportunity to have a trial where a judge could weigh the equities in his case; and he may have been eligible for a public defender. Perhaps we should treat immigrants like criminals and thereby provide them with due process protections before depriving them of liberty.

Tanya Golash-Boza is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and American Studies at the University of Kansas and the author of Immigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 America, published by Paradigm Publishers.

Exclusively in the New Print Issue of CounterPunch

THE SLOW DEATH OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – Nancy Scheper-Hughes on Clerical Sex Abuse and the Vatican. PLUS Fred Gardner on Obama’s Policy on Marijuana and the Reform Leaders’ Misleading Spin.  SUBSCRIBE NOW

Order your subscription today and get
CounterPunch by email for only $35 per year.

 

Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of: Yo Soy Negro Blackness in PeruImmigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 Americaand Due Process Denied: Detentions and Deportations in the United States. Her new book Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism will be published by NYU Press in 2015.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail