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"Refugee Roulette"

President Barack Obama’s immigration policies had the unintended consequence of encouraging illegal immigration. By focusing enforcement efforts primarily on aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or who had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry, he created what I call a “home free magnet.”

Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country unless they were convicted of a serious crime. This was a powerful incentive to do whatever was necessary to enter the United States.

President Donald Trump destroyed this magnet with tough campaign rhetoric and his executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expanded enforcement priorities. No deportable alien is safe under Trump’s enforcement policies.

But previous administrations have left Trump with another enforcement problem that he has not resolved yet.

The immigration judges who decide whether an alien in removal proceedings will be deported have been selected by successive administrations with varying views on immigration enforcement, which has produced an immigration court of 350 judges who have conflicting views on how immigration law should be applied.
According to a Reuters analysis of thousands of immigration court decisions, whether an alien in removal proceedings is allowed to remain or is deported depends largely on which immigration judge hears his case and where the hearing is held.

Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/immigrati...ustice-suffers

Published originally on The Hill.

About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.