The New York University School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic and Families for Freedom have released a report entitled: “Insecure Communities, Devastated Families: New Data on Immigrant Detention and Deportation Practices in New York City.”
From the summary:
In the wake of growing deportation programs such as the recently-activated “Secure Communities” initiative, this new report sheds light on the precise ways in which current detention and deportation practices are wreaking havoc on New York City immigrants and their communities. The deportation system is devastating families by not only threatening to exile their loved ones, but also often forcing immigrants to fight their cases for years while locked up in far-away immigration jails.
The Obama administration attempted to block the release of information relating to its deportation programs, demanding payment of over $1.3 million in fees to turn over data that was requested in a Freedom of Information Act request. A lawsuit had to be filed in federal district court against the administration. The lawsuit was settled in May of 2011, which resulted in the release of the information that formed the basis for the report.
From the released data it was discovered that ICE detains and deports thousands of immigrant New Yorkers every year. Specifically:
- From October 2005 through December 2010, ICE apprehended over 34,000 New Yorkers.
- Since 2008, ICE has detained well over 7,000 New Yorkers each year.
- From 2008 to 2010, ICE averaged 7,417 apprehensions per year, nearly a 60% increase since 2006, the first full year covered by the data.
- 91% of New Yorkers detained by ICE are deported.
The report also found that:
- The parents of at least 7,111 U.S. citizen children were deported during this same period.
- The parents of at least 10,208 U.S. citizen children were detained without bond.
- At least 7,186 New Yorkers detained by ICE had U.S. citizen children.
- 87% of cases of individuals with U.S. citizen children have resulted in deportation.
- New Yorkers are transferred to far-away detention facilities, outside of New York and New Jersey, at alarming rates. Those who are transferred almost never obtain relief from deportation.
The report describes the New York City criminal justice as "a pipeline" to detention and deportation. When encountered, 4 out of 5 New Yorkers are held in immigration custody without bond being set. When bond is set, it is in an amount that is unreasonably high as only 45% of individuals who have bond set are able to pay it (75% of all bonds are $5,000 or more and 35% of all bonds are $10,000 or more). Less than 1% are released on their own recognizance without having to pay a bond.
Here is the kicker, statistics show that ICE had the ability to favorably exercise discretion and set bond in 91% of all reported cases, but despite having that ability over 31,000 New Yorkers were held without bond.
And this is the very reason I do not hold out much hope for the most recent DREAMer prosecutorial discretion initiative. It all hinges on a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion, which statistics repeatedly reveal is not being exercised to the benefit of immigrants.
Click here to read the full report.