July 17, 2007

II. Recommendations

To the President of the United States

  • Encourage Congress to amend immigration laws to ensure that all non-citizens have access to a hearing before an impartial adjudicator, weighing the non-citizen's interest in remaining in the United States against the US interest in deporting the individual. 

To the United States Congress

  • Amend immigration laws to provide access to a balancing hearing before an impartial adjudicator in which an individual non-citizen's interest in remaining in the United States is weighed against the US interest in deporting the individual.
    • In the reinstated balancing hearings, ensure that the following are weighed in favor of the non-citizen remaining in the United States:
      • Family relationships in the United States,
      • Hardship family members will experience as a result of deportation,
      • The best interests of any children in the family,
      • Legal presence in the United States,
      • Length of time in the United States,
      • Period of time after the conviction during which the non-citizen has remained conviction-free (evidence of rehabilitation),
      • Investment in the community of the United States through business enterprises, military service, property ownership, and/or tax payments,
      • Lack of connection to the country of origin.
  • Amend immigration laws so that only non-citizens who have committed serious, violent crimes (not misdemeanor crimes), for which the non-citizen has served an actual prison term (not probation or drug treatment sentences) are subject to deportation.
  • Amend immigration laws to ensure that individuals whose lives or freedom would be threatened if returned are provided protection from return to persecution unless they have been convicted of a particularly serious crime and are dangerous to the community of the United States within the meaning of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  •  Amend immigration laws to ensure that offenses that did not trigger deportation at the time they were committed are not used to deport immigrants now.
  • Amend immigration laws to allow state and federal criminal judges to sentence non-citizens convicted of crimes with a judicial recommendation against deportation ("JRAD").

To the Department of Homeland Security

  • Publish statistics annually that reveal what criminal convictions form the basis for all removals from the United States on criminal grounds, the immigration status (lawful permanent resident, asylee, etc.) of all persons removed on criminal grounds, and whether non-citizens removed have family relationships with US citizens or lawful permanent residents.

To the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

  • Ensure that individuals who enter the United States through refugee resettlement programs ("refugees") receive information in a language they understand about the naturalization process for themselves and their children.
  • After the five-year waiting period, conduct follow up through social service agencies with refugees and their children to ensure that they receive support and advice in a language they understand so that they may naturalize.

To the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Ensure that individuals who are granted asylum ("asylees") receive information in a language they understand about the naturalization process for themselves and their children.
  • After the five-year waiting period, conduct follow up through social service agencies with asylees and their children to ensure that they receive support and advice in a language they understand so that they may naturalize.

To Criminal Defense Attorneys

  • Advise clients on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions or other criminal dispositions such as guilty pleas, court-mandated drug treatment, or probation.