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Study: Miami Judges Turn Down 59 Percent of ICE Removal Requests

A recent study says Immigration and Customs Enforcement is targeting the wrong people in many deportation cases. The study was conducted at Syracuse University. Nationwide in the last three months immigration judges threw out roughly one-third of ICE's deportation requests, according to the study. Last year the survey showed judges denied roughly one-quarter of ICE deportation requests in deportation, removal hearings.

In Florida judges are rejecting significantly more ICE deportation requests than the national average. Miami immigration judges have rejected 59 percent of the deportation requests filed in that court, according to the study.

Over the past five years immigration judges determined that more than a quarter of a million people were not subject to deportation and entitled to reside in the United States, according to the recent study statistics.

The clearinghouse called "TRAC" at Syracuse University bases the study on information it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. TRAC data includes information from deportation cases that appear before immigration judges across the country.

Susan Long is co-director for TRAC. She says the study shows that ICE "isn't doing a good job of targeting people that need to be deported." She acknowledges the burden placed upon the high number of people who are subjected to deportation cases who are entitled to remain in the country. She says the process is "just imposing huge personal and financial burdens" on individuals wrongly selected for deportation.

There has been an uptick over the past year in the number of deportation requests that have been turned down. The uptick appears to be in cases "terminated" by an immigration judge. Cases terminated by the judge are those in which the judge finds ICE has not shown the government has legitimate grounds for seeking the removal order.

In Miami, the study indicates that the termination rate began to climb in 2006 and reached an all-time in fiscal year 2010.

Source: KPBS, "Study Shows Immigration Judges Reject More ICE Deportation Claims," Amy Isackson, 12 Nov 2010

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