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Border Practice Bypasses Courts

Publication Date: 
March 02, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Anna Gorman

Professor and Director of the Immigrants' Rights Clinic Jayashri Srikantiah is quoted in the Los Angeles Times in an article about a government program that allows for deportation of illegal immigrants without a hearing:

Federal authorities are increasingly deporting illegal immigrants through a fast-track program that bypasses court hearings, an effort by the federal government to save money, reduce backlogs and clear detention beds.

The number of detainees in California and across the nation who agreed to be deported without first seeing a judge jumped fivefold between 2004 and 2007, from 5,481 to nearly 31,554. In the first half of 2008, 17,445 speedy deportation orders were signed.

Nearly half of all such orders since 1999 were issued in three locations -- Lancaster; Los Fresnos, Texas, and Eloy, Ariz., according to federal data provided to the Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.


Jayashri Srikantiah, the director of the Stanford clinic, which has sued the federal government to get more information, said some detainees are pressured to sign the deportation forms even though they may have defenses against deportation or be eligible for asylum or green cards. About 95% of the people who agreed to the speedy deportations since 1999 are not represented by attorneys, she said.

"We have people mostly who are in detention in remote locations, without lawyers, who are non-English speakers, and they are being asked to sign away their rights," Srikantiah said.