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Groups Seek More Information On Illegal Immigrants Deported Without A Hearing

Publication Date: 
February 26, 2009
Source: 
Contra Costa Times
Author: 
Matt O'Brien

Teaching Fellow for the Immigrants' Right Clinic Jennifer Lee Koh is quoted in the Contra Costa Times in an article about requests by immigrants' rights groups to compel the government to reveal the details of a program that allows for the deportation of illegal immigrants without a hearing. The Contra Costa Times writes:

Buoyed by a new president's promise to make the federal government more open, immigrant advocates are fighting to learn more about a fast-growing program to deport illegal immigrants without a court hearing.

Immigration judges in San Francisco ordered more than 3,700 illegal immigrants deported in the past five years without seeing them in person, according to data obtained by a Stanford University law clinic.

Almost 100,000 immigrants nationwide have signed what is called the "stipulated order of removal" while in jail, waiving the right to appear before a judge, agreeing to a speedy deportation and barring themselves from entering the United States for at least a decade.

...

"From what we're hearing, people are being told that the benefit is they can get out of detention sooner," said Jennifer Lee Koh, teaching fellow at the immigrants' rights clinic at Stanford Law School.

"The problem is they're also being forced to sign away their rights. ... We feel they should know what they are getting into when they sign a stipulated order."

One morning last week, Koh implored a San Francisco federal judge presiding over the open records case to consider President Barack Obama's directive to federal agencies the day after his inauguration to "adopt a presumption in favor" of Freedom of Information Act requests. The judge scoffed at Koh's request as he scheduled a full hearing on the case for September.