The Truth About Deportation

Many would think that undocumented immigrants held in deportation proceedings are on trial for an offense that, if guilty, would result in their removal from the country. However, this is contrary to the fact. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), has maintained that deportation is not a punishment for undocumented offenders. Instead, it is returning unauthorized residents to their home country.  

As of 1893, the SCOTUS stated that deportation is best defined as, "the ability to remove an alien out of the country because their presence is deemed inconsistent with the public welfare. This comes without any punishment being imposed or contemplated." The court also distinguished the difference between deportation, banishment (forcefully removing someone from a country due to a crime), and transportation (forcibly relocating someone within their homeland due to a crime).  

Subsequently, the SCOTUS differentiates deportation proceedings, which should be civil and administrative, from criminal trials. With that being said, unauthorized citizens should not be deprived of life, property, or liberty without the appropriate process of law. Furthermore, the aliens are protected under the constitution, which secures their right to trial by a jury and prohibits unreasonable searches, seizures, and cruel and unusual punishment.  

All countries have the right to deport unauthorized citizens. It is an international law widely accepted that sovereign nations can utilize the power to act where necessary to preserve their sovereignty. Which means they can forbid foreigners' entrance into their country or dominion. In 1972, the SCOTUS clarified the proposition by stating that non-resident aliens have no constitutional right to reside permanently in the United States.  

Considering the time elapsed since the SCOTUS publicized their previously mentioned views, the courts have dealt with these issues consistently. Based on the definition of the court, deportation proceedings are done so that a sovereign country can admit or eject foreign nationals from its territory using its discretion. Formally accepted foreigners can claim they should be allowed to remain in the United States. However, no foreign national has a constitutional right to be accepted and stay within the United States.  

Moreover, since the worst possible outcome for a foreigner in a deportation proceeding is a United States government expense paid transfer back to their country, deportation is not a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Because unauthorized foreigners should not have been present in the United States in the first place, then they have no legal right to be there. Hence, their removal from the United States is fair. The concept is no different than when a tenant is evicted from the premises for failure to pay the rent.  

“A deportation trial is far from a criminal trial; it is essentially more like an administrative hearing that determines whether someone can continue staying in the United States or must return to their home country, ” said Ronny Hulsey. The immigration trials are more of a revocable privilege, not an irrevocable right.  

Due to emotionally charged narratives, unauthorized foreigners are viewed as faultless victims. The system utilized to govern the deportation process is consequently seen as unjust as it appears to deprive immigrants of their rights. However, the reality is that when a person is deported, it is done within the parameters of the constitution. The U.S. Constitution protects both citizens of the U.S. and non-citizens when they are in the U.S.

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