On Monday, I reported on how Congress gives special relief to convicted murderers, smugglers, and other alien law-breakers through private claims bills that sabotage deportation efforts.
Today in my syndicated newspaper column, I report on another aspect of the deportation abyss–the endless appeals process and immigration litigation lottery played by deportable aliens and their open-borders lawyers.
As you follow the debate over the Bush-Kennedy immigration bill, keep this cardinal rule in mind: 99.99 percent of the lawmakers who promise you that they’ll ensure the deportation of anyone who doesn’t follow their new “guest-worker” regulations are either A) lying or B) completely clueless.
Rule No. 2: Anyone who plays the Enforcement equals Kicking-Down-Doors-And-Depriving-Babies-of-Mother’s-Milk card (yes, that’s you, Geraldo Rivera) is either A) lying or B) completely clueless.
As I’ve reported many times over the last several years, the nation’s deportation abyss is governed by one reality: “It ain’t over ’til the alien wins.” Immigration lawyers and ethnic activists run a massive, lucrative industry whose sole objective is to help illegal aliens and convicted criminal visa holders evade deportation for as long as possible. Entry into this country should be a privilege, not a right. The open borders lobby has turned that principle on its head.
Look no further than New York, where four convicted criminal aliens — a child molester, two killers and a racketeer — just won a federal lawsuit to remain in the country after all being ordered deported. The stunning decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Blake v. Carbone, came down on June 1 as the shamnesty debate was bubbling in Washington. The ruling, which hinges on convoluted due process arguments, will greatly expand the number of criminal aliens convicted of certain aggravated felonies who can now receive relief from deportation. This is happening despite the passage of two federal immigration reform laws in 1996 severely restricting deportation waivers for criminal aliens convicted of aggravated felonies.
The lead winning plaintiff, Leroy Blake, is a Jamaican national convicted of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor in 1992. The feds began deportation proceedings in 1999. An immigration judge ruled Blake deportable in 2000. Blake took his case to the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, which remanded the case back to the immigration judge, who granted him relief from deportation. The then-INS appealed the judge’s ruling. In 2005, the Board of Immigration Appeals sided with the INS and ordered Blake removed from the U.S. Blake filed a motion to reconsider, then took his case to the Second Circuit.
The other plaintiffs who’ve successfully gamed the system include:
Aundre Singh, a native of Guyana, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1986. In 1997, the then-INS moved to deport him. In 1998, an immigration judge ordered him deported. In 1999, the Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Singh’s appeal. In 2003, Singh filed a motion to reconsider, which the appeals board denied. Singh filed for reconsideration of that ruling, which was denied in 2004. Singh tried again to appeal the board’s ruling in 2005 and was denied again before heading to the Second Circuit for relief.
Errol Foster, a Jamaican national, who killed a man with a pistol in 1990. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. He was released from prison in 2002. The feds began deportation proceedings while he was still in custody. An immigration judge ordered his removal in 2000, which Foster appealed. The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected his appeal in 2001. Four years later, Foster was still in the country — appealing the rejected appeal and filing three separate federal lawsuits before getting lucky with the Second Circuit.
And Ho Yoon Chong, a South Korean national, who was sentenced in 1995 for racketeering related to his participation in the “Korean Fuk Ching” crime ring. In 1998, the then-INS moved to deport him. In 2002, an immigration judge ordered him deported. In 2004, the Board of Immigration Appeals sided with the judge. Like his fellow criminal aliens, Chong didn’t give up, and now he’s won the immigration litigation lottery.
Immigration lawyers representing criminal aliens like these four menaces have gummed up the court system with 11 years of litigation over the 1996 laws banning deportation relief for felons. Eleven years.
Open-borders Democrats led by Ted Kennedy bleat about the lack of “due process” for downtrodden aliens, but immigration lawyers and their clients know the deal. Whether the Bush-Kennedy bill passes or not, it ain’t over ’til the alien wins.
This is the real “silent amnesty” that no one in Washington will talk about. Go ahead. Ask them.
***Update:*** Reader e-mail from Brian S…
Your article at NRO today is right on point. I was a law clerk with the Fifth Circuit a few years ago, and it was amazing the number of petitions for review of BIA decisions we handled. You are absolutely correct that immigration lawyers use the current system of endless appeals to make illegals essentially undeportable. (It amazes me that illegal aliens, unlike American citizens, get TWO appeals as of right — one to the BIA and then another to the Circuit Court of Appeals.) The Real ID Act of 2005 limited somewhat the avenues of review an illegal could pursue in the Circuit Courts, but it did not go far enough. After working in the system, the solution to this problem is simple in theory: repeal the statutory provisions that provide for judicial review by the Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court. It is clearly permissible for the Congress to do this under the Constitution. See U.S. Const. Art. III, Section 3, Clause 2 (“the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.) This would eliminate the biggest “bottleneck” in the removal/deportation process. It would also reduce greatly the overburden dockets of our federal appellate courts.