Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act into as a bipartisan effort to strengthen immigrations laws. The Act addressed issues like border control, employment eligibility, citizenship, and stricter criminal penalties for immigrants not abiding by US laws. The most controversial aspect of the Act was the news guidelines set forth when it came to deportations. Under the Act, deportations would be swift and without due process. This portion of the Act was so controversial that opponents of the Act took the fight to the supreme court arguing that “ . . . the law had gone too far, and that long-term legal residents were unfairly facing mandatory detention and deportation for petty offenses, often committed long ago.” (Civil Rights Monitor, 2002)
In laymen’s terms, if you were a legal permanent resident that was found guilty of a crime listed as a deportable offense on the 1996 Act at any point in your life , you no longer had the right to plead your case in front of a judge. You automatically became deportable without due process.
The federal government finally admitted they went a too far in the Immigration Act of 1996 and passed the Restoration of Fairness and Immigration Act of 2002. This once again gave the right to those facing deportation to be seen in front of a judge and plead their cases on an individual basis.
Although a small victory was won for those opposed to the Immigration Act of 1996, the fight still has a long way because:
- The 2002 Restoration of Fairness and Immigration Act was not retroactive so those deported between 1996 and 2002 did not and still does not have the opportunity to plead their case
- There are still many aspects of the Immigration Act that denies both legal immigrants and naturalized citizens basic human rights
If you would like to know what you can do to stop unjust deportations, please contact a member of the IKARE team by clicking here.