A new agreement announced on August 27, 2014 states that Homeland security officials will not use intimidation or threats against immigrants facing deportation. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Times reports that many immigrants with ties to Southern California who voluntarily left the United States under threats will be allowed to return. This potentially historical settlement only pertains to Southern California, but some of the reforms may be adopted nationwide.
This settlement will directly affect individuals who were voluntarily deported from Southern California between the years 2009 and 2013. The group involved in the lawsuit claimed that federal agents used intimidation and misinformation to persuade immigrants to voluntarily leave the country. Even individuals with no serious criminal records and long standing ties to Southern California were coerced, tricked and encouraged to leave the country.
Because of this lawsuit, federal agents will no longer be allowed to use threats or pressure to encourage voluntary deportation. Instead, they will be required to advise people about their right to a hearing and provide them with contact information for free legal service providers. Furthermore, the United States will launch a media campaign in Mexico informing deportees that they may be eligible to come back.
At the time of the Los Angeles Times report, eight deportees have already returned to California from Mexico. One woman who returned was deported after being threatened that her autistic son would be put in a foster home if she did not agree to deport.
Many believe that this decision reflects a shift in politics to appease migrant rights groups. The Obama administration is known for deporting large groups of immigrants, but there has been movement in recent years to help immigrants stay in the United States legally. It is unclear how many of the 250,000 immigrants affected by this particular agreement will come back to the United States, but this decision could change the way immigrants are treated in the future.
If you are facing deportation, please do not hesitate to learn about your rights by contacting an experienced Los Angeles immigration lawyer, you may be able to stay in the United States or at least delay your deportation and remain in Southern California.