President Donald Trump has repeatedly tried to make headway on his promise of overhauling immigration enforcement. In February memos released by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly lifted most of the restrictions that served the purpose of protecting people who are illegally in the United States. The policy change created a culture throughout the agency where anybody who the customs agency says has committed a crime can be deported.
Included in the memo were directives to target people who have been charged with but not tried for a crime, those who have not been charged for but are believed to have committed a chargeable criminal offence and those who commit minor infractions like driving without a license.
The path to deportation can be long and an immigration judge's decision can be appealed and make it all the way up to the Supreme Court. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement field officers can also grant a stay of removal, making it take even longer for the deportation to occur.
Though the deportation process sounds as easy as just walking someone across the border, it's a little bit more complicated than that. The home country of the deportee needs to be contacted and the logistics need to be planned., according to USA.gov, a government website that explains the deportation process.
Deportation isn't just unmoral, it hurts the economy.
To get a mortgage, credit card or car loan in the United States, you don't need to show proof of citizenship. If we assume that 10% of the 11 million immigrants in the US have an average of $5000 credit built up, that's $5.5 billion gone if they're sent packing.
Will their home country take them back?
The most important step is making sure that their home country will actually accept them back. Officials need to secure a travel document from the country — essentially a promise that the person is welcome once they're removed from the United States.
How do we remove them?
Depending in the geographic location of the unauthorized immigrant, there's a few ways they may be removed. Mexican nationals are typically flown to border cities like Phoenix or San Diego where they are then driven to the border in a bus or van and leave the country from there. People from other countries are taken to a removal operations center in one of 24 cities where they're flown to their destination, if they’re being deported from the United States.
When someone is being deported in Canada, they’re only placed in detention when there’s a good belief that they might try to stay in the country:
With that, section 55 (2)(a) of the IRPA stipulates that should a CBSA officer have reasonable grounds to believe the person is unlikely to appear for an immigration proceeding (e.g., examination, hearing, removal), a danger to the public, or unable to satisfy their identity they may be placed in immigration detention. More information on immigration detention can be foundhere.
Individuals found inadmissible and subject to removal who are not held in immigration detention are issued terms and conditions, which include the requirement to appear throughout the removal process, including pre-removal interviews as well as the removal.
What's the journey like?
Deportees are shackled by the wrists and ankles on commercial and charter flights if they're being escorted, a decision which is based on if they have a history of violence or if they could be a danger to others. Shackles around the wrists only come off when they're using the washroom or eating.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has its own air transportation arm that organizes multiple charter and commercial flights per day to countries with many deportees, such as El Salvador and Honduras. Regardless of the amount of passengers, it costs the agency approximately $8,500 per flight hour for charter flights. This money gets billed directly to taxpayers.
In Canada, the CBSA aims to remove people with little intervention if possible:
The vast majority of those being removed in air mode travel on commercial airlines without escorts. In some cases, to minimize risk to the safety and security of the person being removed, the travelling public, and transportation company personnel, the CBSA may assign escort officers to execute the removal. Decisions on whether a removal requires escorts are made on a case-by-case basis based on factors such as behaviour, physical health, mental health, level of compliance, and criminal history of the individual. During an escorted removal, officers are vigilant in ensuring the physical safety of the person and others in their immediate surroundings.
Who pays for their journey back?
According to a response from the CBSA that we received on March 19, 2019:
In accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), the removal cost is to be covered by the individual subject to removal and/or, in certain cases the transporter (the company who brought the individual to Canada). In cases where the CBSA/ Government of Canada is required to cover the cost of removal (because the individual being removed is unable to), the individual cannot return to Canada until the Government has been reimbursed. More information can be found in sections 238 and 243 of the IRPR.