The Syracuse University public information project TRAC has just released a pair of articles about deportation of immigrants for “aggravated felony” charges. This process applies to legal immigrants only.
TRAC says sometimes an “aggravated felony” under immigration law can be quite a low-level crime. Two cases cited by TRAC involved shoplifting. Yet the consequences can be severe: the immigrant loses rights to contest deportation before immigration authorities or courts, may not apply for other legal immigration status, is subject to mandatory detention, and may be permanently barred from the USA.
Although the frequency of “aggravated felony” determinations has fallen in recent years (from a high of 25,842 in 1998 to 11,133 in 2005) TRAC says record-keeping practices make it difficult to determine the basis of “aggravated felony” charges. About a third seem connected to some sort of drug charges. Pending legislation may further expand the net of this category, further eroding human rights of migrants in the USA.
View the TRAC reports online.