The “logistics” of deporting 11 million people

The “logistics” of deporting 11 million people

A cornerstone of Donald Trump’s “solution” to our immigration issues is to deport the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants, “and let the good come back in.”

I’m not quite sure if he’s talking about some form of “provisional waiver,” which is currently in effect, where certain people have to leave the US and apply for their immigrant visas abroad. They first apply for a waiver of the 3\10 year bar, and if granted, leave the US, and then return (come back) after obtaining their immigrant visa.

But putting aside exactly how Trump plans to identify, gather up, and deport 11 million people, there are also the LEGAL aspects on deporting/removing people:

  • The government cannot simply knock on a person’s door or come to their place of work, grab and handcuff them, and take them to the nearest train station or airport and send them out.
  • Instead, each person is entitled to his or her “day in court.” They must be served with a Notice to Appear (NTA), which sets forth the charges or reasons they are deportable.
  • The person then has the right to appear in court, and apply for various forms of relief, if eligible, which must be heard and ruled on by the immigration judge in a trial-like setting.
  • Some forms of relief, which exist under current laws, could include cancellation of removal, adjustment of status if they were petitioned by a relative and their priority date is current, waivers- if they are in removal/deportation because of some previous immigration violation such as fraud or crimes, to name a few.
  • Court proceedings could involve several appearances. If their case is denied by the immigration judge, they can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which could take several more years.
  • Where is Mr. Trump going to find enough courtrooms and judges to handle the approximate 11 million new removal proceedings? It will cost billions of dollars to build new courtrooms and hire and pay new judges (and their staff) to handle all of these removal proceedings and appeals.
  • Last year, approximately 60,000 children from Central America came across our southern border, and were put in removal proceedings at the front of the line. Existing cases that already had hearing dates, were pushed back, some as far back as November 2019. How long will the backlog be if we now add 11 million new removal cases? A person might get a hearing date sometime in 3016, or thousand years from now. Moreover, there are already at least 500,000 existing cases in backlogs in our immigration courts.

The bottom line is it is just not feasible to gather up and deport/remove 11 million people, especially with 11 million removal proceedings. Instead, the answer is comprehensive immigration reform.

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