Nine migrants from Mexico who were sent back to their home country voluntarily from the United States have been informed that they will be given the opportunity to argue against their deportations in a US immigration court. The announcement comes as part of an agreement that was established this week involving the American Civil Liberties Union, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The migrants had their case argued for them by the ACLU who made allegations against officials from both immigration agencies that they were intimidated into consenting to what was referred to in the lawsuit as “unlawful coerced expulsion”. They allege that officials neglected to inform migrants who were possibly going to be deported of the ramifications that were inherent to them agreeing to their “voluntary” deportation.
Stipulations of the Agreement
Migrant essentially forfeit their right to fight their deportation when they are deported voluntarily. They are typically sent back to their home country right away and have no recourse in any court, US or otherwise, after they have been removed. Under the agreement which was announced last week, ICE and CBP agents are mandated to provide migrants with detailed information regarding voluntary deportation and the process involved and are forbidden from pressuring them to accept a voluntary departure. The agreement also requires the implementation of a phone line that migrants can call in order to receive accurate information about voluntary deportation. Additionally, migrants will be allowed to make phone calls, they will be afforded up to two hours to make a decision regarding voluntary removal, they will be provided information on immigration-related legal provisions, and they will be allowed to speak with their legal representatives while in detention.
The Provision of Accurate Information for Migrants is Essential
All of these changes became effective immediately upon the agreement being reached last week. Technically speaking, voluntary deportation is used by immigration agencies as an alternative to the standard deportation process for undocumented individuals. A spokesperson for ICE stated that despite the provision, coercion and deception are unacceptable methods for obtaining agreement to the terms of voluntary removal. She also stated that the agreement was put in place in an effort to make certain that foreign nationals have a complete and thorough understanding of the potential ramifications should they decide to accept being removed voluntarily.
Mexican nationals who were deported between June of 2009 and August of 2014 have the opportunity under the agreement to return to the United States and make an appearance in immigration court to have their cases heard. However, while this class provision has received preliminary approval, it still requires court approval which may or may not be granted. Those who would be eligible for this provision include Mexican national who were deported but who has established residency in California and who have familial ties to the United States as well as youths who were brought into the country illegally by their parents.
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving legal counsel for any immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorney at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas or call their offices at 512-215-5225.