OIG Criticizes ICE in Timely Deportations

By Peek & Toland on June 23, 2019

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report entitled “ICE Faces Barriers in Timely Repatriation of Detained Aliens.” In reviewing the cases of over 3,000 immigrants who were not removed from the U.S. within 90 days of receiving a final order of removal, OIG concluded that some of the factors resulting in these delays are beyond the control of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some of these factors include the lengthy nature of immigrants appealing their removal orders and the fact that foreign governments are not always cooperative in issuing the appropriate travel documents and arrangements.

However, OIG also noted that some of ICE’s internal problems exacerbated the issues concerning the timely removal of immigrants from the country. Specifically, ICE has major issues with staffing and technology that inhibit its efforts to timely remove these individuals. ICE continues to have issues with inadequate staffing, high turnover rates, and heavy caseloads, which impacts their management of immigrants pending removal from the country.

OIG Criticizes ICE in Timely Deportations

Furthermore, ICE uses a cumbersome manual process to make international flight plans for immigrants to return to their native countries, rather than utilizing available technology to complete these arrangements. ICE also has developed a tool designed to track statistics on the efficiency of removal operations, but its metrics are incomplete and do not track some of the necessary information.

Overall, OIG made five recommendations for ICE to improve its removal operations:

  • Develop a new staffing model that assigns sufficient officers to manage immigrants who are subject to removal orders
  • Conduct training for all Enforcement and Removal Operations staff about the importance of obtaining proper identity documents from immigrants at the time of apprehension
  • Develop a web-based flight managements and tracking system to expedite removal
  • Use an electronic system as a source of official removal statistics

The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal representation of countless individuals facing various immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys today.

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Immigration Courts Authorize Deportation of 12 Percent of Immigrants With Bureau of Prisons

By Peek & Toland on October 16, 2017

Deportations have seldom been far from the headlines during the early days of the Trump administration. Recently, immigration courts authorized the deportations of as many as 12 percent of federal inmates, according to reports.

In May, immigration courts allowed the deportation of more than 22,000 foreign-born inmates, reported the Washington Times.

Figures released from the Justice Department stated foreign nationals comprise 41,554 of the 189,000 federal inmates in Bureau of Prisons custody.

Immigration courts to deport 12 percent of undocumented immigrants

Immigration Court to deport 12 percent of illegal immigrants

A further 3,939 were born outside the United States but became U.S. citizens. The report said final deportation orders were issued for 22,541 foreign-born inmates. They are due to be deported from the United States once they complete their prison sentences. Immigration authorities are said to be considering the deportation of another 13,000 plus immigrants. More than 5,000 immigrants have ongoing removal cases.

The Justice Department figures are not honed down to immigration status. In other words, it’s not possible to distinguish how many of the immigrants now in custody were in the country illegally at the time of arrest, as opposed to being holders of green cards or on visas.

Immigration Courts Target 12 Percent of Migrants

The Washington Times report said immigration-related arrests comprise nearly half of all arrests made by federal authorities.

The Trump administration has taken a tough stance toward undocumented immigrants. Trump wants to build a border wall and tighten up security. However, key questions remain about the president’s mass deportation policies.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointed Bureau of Prisons data as evidence of a further need to tighten security at the border. He said:

“Illegal aliens who commit additional crimes in the United States are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system. This is why we must secure our borders through a wall and effective law enforcement, and we must strengthen cooperation between federal, state and local governments.”

Even without a wall, there is evidence that Trump’s tough immigration policies may be impacting border crossings.

The border between Mexico and Texas saw a rapid decrease in illegal border crossings in recent months, reported CNBC.com. However, the trend was also apparent before Trump was elected president.

If you are facing deportation, you can fight the proceedings. Our Austin cancellation of removal lawyers can help you. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.


Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Criminal Defense, Immigration

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Increased Deportations Impact American Businesses

By Peek & Toland on June 2, 2017

President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants is already impacting some businesses as increased deportations deprive them of workers.

The Los Angeles Times reported the chilling impacts on businesses after Trump ordered an aggressive crackdown on as many as 11 million undocumented people in February.

The LA Times made reference to two memos released by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly directing immigration officers to broaden their enforcement and to conduct more raids on immigrant communities. The policy envisages placing undocumented people in detention whether or not they have a criminal record.

Officials have also talked about an expedited deportation process that would bypass the courts, although it would likely face a legal challenge.

Increased deportations impact business

The Los Angeles Times reported the Californian economy faces being hit particularly hard by increased deportations. Many industries that rely on immigrants were experiencing a labor shortage before Trump’s inauguration.

Undocumented workers make as much as 10 percent of the labor force in California, according to USC researchers. They are the backbone of the workforce in agriculture and construction. As many as 45 percent of all farm workers and 21 percent of those in the construction trade are undocumented.

Texas also faces a major impact from increased deportations, according to recent studies. Last year we noted research that found restricting the undocumented workforce in Texas would lead to significant economic losses to the state. The research estimated the total net fiscal effect of the state’s undocumented population brings in about $32.9 billion every year.

Increased Deportations May Impact Texas and California Business

California has about 2.7 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were about 1.68 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas.

Research from the Pew Center found Texas, California, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois combined accounted for 59 percent of the undocumented population in the United States.

A recent report in Bloomberg stated increased deportations stand to drive up the wages of farm workers. Wages for agricultural workers rose 36 percent over the last decade as the Obama administration cracked down on unlawful migrants.

However, the Trump administration’s expanded deportation plan for undocumented immigrants threatens to put some growers out of business if its actions are not accompanied by increases in workers available. Bloomberg warned more food might be sourced from overseas.

The H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers could help alleviate the agricultural workers crisis. However, the program is oversubscribed and in need of reform, claimed Bloomberg.

The Austin-based immigration attorneys at Peek & Toland have years of success in helping immigrants. We can help you avoid complications that could endanger your rights and presence in the United States. For further information, call (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Deportations Increased in 2016, States Department of Homeland Security

By Peek & Toland on May 22, 2017

The election of Donald Trump has renewed fears over mass deportations. However, Department of Homeland Security figures point to a rise in removals even before Trump arrived at the White House.

Figures released in December for the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 revealed the department apprehended 530,250 people in the United States and carried out 450,954 removals and returns of immigrants.

In 2016, border patrol picked up 415,816 people compared to 337,117 in 2015. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 114, 434 immigrants, compared to 125,211 the previous year.

The Department of Homeland Security in its press release said more people were apprehended in previous years, notably from the 1980s to 2008.

Deportations rose in 2016

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said the Obama administration was continuing to concentrate on deporting people who pose a threat to public safety.

He said:

“In FY 2016, we continued to better focus our interior resources on removing individuals who may pose threats to public safety—specifically, convicted criminals and threats to national security. “

President Obama took a relentless approach to deportations, particularly in the early years of his administration.

A report on ABC News noted in April that he deported more people than any other president of the United States.

From 2009 to 2015, the Obama administration removed in excess of 2.5 million people through immigration orders.

The figure does not include people who “self-deported” or were turned back at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

George W. Bush deported about 2 million people.

Deportations May Rise under President Trump

Donald Trump promised to deport as many as 2-3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. It would represent one of the biggest round-ups in U.S. history.

Before the election, he floated the removal of as many as 11 million illegal immigrants.

You can read some of the important questions about Trump’s immigration reforms here.

If you have a concern about any aspect of immigration in Texas or are facing deportation, we can help. Call our Austin cancellation of removal lawyers today at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Immigration

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Undocumented Immigrant Deportations – Up To Three Million Removals Are Planned

By Peek & Toland on February 13, 2017

President Donald Trump wants to remove undocumented immigrants and to do it fast. His plan for undocumented immigrant deportations has alarmed many people who are unlawfully living in Texas.

Trump spoke of deporting large numbers of undocumented immigrants during the election campaign. He mentioned the figure of 11 million.

However, in his first television interview since winning the election, he said he planned to deport 2 – 3 million undocumented immigrants when he took office.

The statements came in a “60 Minutes” interview, reported WFAA8.

Trump has promised increase in undocumented immigrant deportations

Undocumented immigrant deportations are set to rise

In the interview, Trump made it clear he’s targeting undocumented immigrants with criminal records. He said:

“We’re going to get the people that are criminals, have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, – we have a lot of these people, probably 2 million, could even be 3 million, we’re getting them out of our country or we’re going to incarcerate.”

The WFAA8 report reflected the fears of undocumented immigrants who live in Texas.

They include Catalina Acuna. She lives in Irving where she moved from California. Acuna and her husband fled cartel violence in Mexico in 2000.

She has three children who were born in the U.S, and hence are citizens through birth.

However, Acuna is undocumented and fears deportation. As many as 1.5 immigrants in Texas are in the same category.

Acuna was more relieved to hear Trump appears to have reduced his deportation figure to one comparable with that of the Obama administration, which also placed an emphasis on deporting immigrants with criminal records in the last four years.

Austin Family Lawyers Help Undocumented Immigrants


Although Trump appears to have softened his stance on deportations, there are no guarantees for the undocumented.

Trump maintains he will secure the border between the United States and Mexico, although part of the promised wall could be a fence.

After securing the border, he will make a decision on what to do with approximately 9-10 million immigrants who don’t have lawful status in the United States but have no criminal background.

He suggested these immigrants are “terrific people,” but gave no indication about his future plans for them.

If you are slated for deportation you should not assume it’s a lost cause, even if you have a criminal conviction. These cases have to be processed by the immigration courts. It’s often in the best interests of a family for its members to be kept together.

You can read about our Austin family immigration lawyers’ record in cancellation of removal cases here. Call us at (512) 474-4445.


Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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