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The Atlantic
December 19, 2014

My Brother Was Almost Deported
By Edward Delman

Aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude are opaque enough in their definitions that it would be difficult for most immigrants—even English-speaking immigrants—to know whether they are in danger of deportation. “You could be a wife and mother to U.S. citizen children, contributing to your community and working to support your family, and they could deport you because of a shoplifting conviction you committed 15 years ago, despite years of rehabilitation in the meantime,” says Heidi Altman, an attorney and legal director of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition. And that’s exactly what seems to be happening to many immigrants. A Human Rights Watch report shows that between 1997 and 2007, 77.1 percent of legal immigrants who were deported were deported for non-violent offenses, such as immigration crimes, DUIs, and illegal entry. Moreover, according to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of deportees who have been convicted “of any criminal offense apart from an immigration or traffic violation has actually declined.” Despite the administration’s claim that it is targeting threats to the public, the numbers tell a different story.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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