How immigration crackdowns screw up Americans’ lives

Source: Reason
by Shikha Dalmia

“Jacqueline Stevens, a political scientist at Northwestern University and an expert on deportation law, estimates that in 2010 alone, over 4,000 U.S. citizens were detained or deported as aliens. Between 2003 and 2010, more than 20,000 Americans suffered the same fate. At any given time, Stevens maintains, about 1 percent of the inmates in immigration detention nationwide are American citizens. That figure may sound unbelievable, but in fact it is a conservative estimate. In principle, it is illegal for immigration authorities to detain U.S. citizens, much less deport them. But the reality is very different, Stevens says. Once someone is swept into the Kafkaesque nightmare of the immigration system, they are effectively assumed illegal until proven otherwise. What’s more, the standard due process protections that are afforded to ordinary criminals aren’t extended to suspected illegal immigrants.” (for publication 12/17)