Immigrants and Their Belongings During the Deportation Process

Immigrants and Their Belongings During the Deportation Process

The American Immigration Council recently issued a report entitled “ Deported With No Possessions: The Mishandling of Migrants’ Personal Belongings by ICE and CBP.” In this report, the authors focus on the longstanding problem of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) mishandling the personal property of immigrants whom they detain. Unfortunately, immigrants are at a high risk of having the only belongings that they may have in the world lost, stolen, or destroyed during the detention process. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tried to correct this problem through policy changes, it has been largely unsuccessful in doing so. As a result, additional changes are necessary in order to correct this serious problem. In order to address this problem, DHS issued CPB National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (TEDS) and entered into Local Repatriation Arrangements between Mexico and the U.S. governments in nine cities along the border. Despite these policy shifts, however, Mexican detainees are just as likely to lose their personal property during the detention process as they were prior to the new policies. Before the TEDS went into effect, for instance, 41.5% of Mexican detainees reported that they did not receive all of their belongings back after they had been detained. After TEDS went into effect, however, that number remained almost nearly identical, at 41%. Likewise, before the U.S. and Mexican governments entered into the repatriation agreements, 40.4% of Mexican detainees did not receive all of their property back. After the repatriation agreements were established, though, this number actually increased to 42.4%. While losing any item of personal property is distressing, the loss of some important items can leave immigrants stranded in an unfamiliar town without any way to contact family members or friends, stay warm, get food, or access government services. Many immigrants may lose their identification cards, cash, cell phones, and additional clothing. The loss of these items is clearly more critical for these immigrants than for most people, which is what makes this phenomenon such a serious problem. When you or a loved one are detained and face deportation for any reason, Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is here to help, including securing your belongings, obtaining your release from detention, and helping you work toward a legal status that will allow you to remain in the United States. We care about you, your family, and your ability to remain in the U.S. As a result, our California deportation defense lawyers stand ready to build the strongest possible deportation defense case on your behalf. Contact your Oakland immigration lawyer today and learn how we can advocate for you and your family in your deportation proceedings.
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