Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 1, 2016 - In a controversial deportation operation, over 121 Central American adults and children who sought legal asylum in the U.S. were deported and ordered to leave the country.
The operation was the first large-scale effort to deport people who fled from drug wars in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador.
The law versus compassion is a tough battle in which to pick sides. What is the right thing to do in a situation where the chief of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to deport hundreds of families whose asylum applications or other applications to remain in the U.S. were rejected by immigration courts?
The law says these families must be deported, as they had allegedly entered the country illegally. But compassion, human justice and common sense say it is inhumane to send refugees from violence and crime back to almost assuredly be killed.
“Many of the individuals seeking access to the U.S. from Central America are running for their lives and only want a safe haven to rest and provide a better future for themselves and their children,” said respected Houston immigration attorney, Annie Banerjee. “It’s a tough situation in which to make decisions, particularly since people’s lives may well be at stake.”
In this merry-go-round argument to deport those rejected as ineligible by an immigration court comes the horse of justice. The argument goes something like this: If the nation does not deport those ruled ineligible to stay in the U.S. it means overturning the premise of enforceable immigration law. Many consider that conundrum to be indefensible. While deportation may seem to be the logical thing to do, is it the humanitarian thing to do? And do humanitarian ideals count when enforcing the law?
“Even though the government has the responsibility and the legal right to say who gets to come to the U.S. and who gets to stay, where is the line drawn? Where should it be drawn? Or should it even be drawn in the first place?” asked Banerjee.
The other side of the coin in this dilemma is whether or not immigration courts are fair. The naysayers argue the courts are overloaded, short-staffed and pressed for time. While sometimes justice may be served in a minute, many times it isn’t. Making the decision to deport a family encompasses far more than a mere glance at a stack of papers in a crowded courtroom.
An immigrant family has a better chance of successfully staying in the U.S. if they have an immigration attorney to speak for them. Since many immigrants cannot afford an attorney, this is a rare happenstance. Instead, immigrants need to lean on the pro bono immigration bar, which is also overwhelmed with cases. “What that means is there is a good chance those who have a genuine and legitimate case to remain in the U.S. may get deported in spite of their evidence,” Banerjee said.
The immigration system is horrendously broken. Those fleeing for their lives need help and support of a different kind. Who is going to listen to them and provide them with the justice they deserve? The current system is hobbled by decades-old rules and regulations at odds with one another. Only immigration lawyers can sort out the cumbersome red tape. In the meantime, lives are at stake. People are being deported back to places they never want to see again.
What is the answer? Meaningful reform may be the ticket, but in what form? Immigration reform is as much a human issue as it is a legal one and it is the human component that poses the most perplexing questions.
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139