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AILA Statement to the House of Representatives

Last month, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted a statement to the House Committee on the Judiciary regarding the state of current US Immigration Policy, particularly the use of prosecutorial discretion and the executive branch’s role in enforcing the law. While some Republicans may claim that President Obama does not adequately enforce the immigration laws on the books, AILA disagrees. The association notes that under Presidents Obama and Bush immigration enforcement has rapidly expanded. Yet this has not led to effective enforcement but rather “a decline in the accountability and consistency of enforcement practices”.

Constitutional rights, such as due process, have been violated as enforcement has increased. AILA states “DHS continues to hold many noncitizens, including lawful permanent residents and asylum seekers, in detention without ever providing a custody hearing before a judge—a fundamental deprivation of due process”. Such disregard for our fundamental constitutional values is unacceptable.

AILA urges all agencies involved in immigration to practice prosecutorial discretion and to have clear and consistent guidelines on its use. Such discretion is vital to any law enforcement agency with limited resources and the association rightly argues that this leads to better targeting and smarter enforcement.

AILA further mentions that this expanded enforcement comes at a time when net migration to the US is nearly zero and border crossings are at a 40-year low. Immigration detention rates are also rising, costing American taxpayers about $2 billion a year.

Basically, our immigration enforcement system is expensive, inconsistent, and unacceptable.

Read AILA’s full statement here.