Policies and regulations from the past decade underscore the need for strong constitutional safeguards in removal proceedings, which are administrative proceedings where an Immigration Judge adjudicates whether a noncitizen should be deported from the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Deportation has accelerated; the Obama Administration has removed nearly 400,000 noncitizens in each of the last three years. Congress and the Executive have limited appellate review of final orders of removal and sharply curtailed avenues of discretionary relief. Immigration detention has increased significantly; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a record total of 384,000 noncitizens in 2009, and 363,000 noncitizens in 2010. Immigration law also has become more complex, with a maze of difficult regulations that govern the forms of relief available at different stages of the removal process. Recognizing recent changes in immigration enforcement and the severity of deportation, this Note suggests that some groups of noncitizens in removal proceedings ought to have heightened procedural safeguards as a matter of constitutional law.
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