Detained Immigrants Coerced to Sign Away Rights

Newly available federal data shows a steady increase in the number of immigrants in administrative detention who have signed deportation orders waiving their right to see a judge. The National Immigrant Justice Center, through a Freedom of Information Act request, collected data showing that 94 percent of the 80,844 stipulated orders of removal signed between April 1997 and February 2008 were by immigrants who spoke primarily Spanish, and most had not been charged with a crime.

“Given our work with this population, the data backs up our longstanding concern that immigrants in detention face language barriers and do not fully comprehend the implications of signing stipulated order of removal forms,” said National Immigrant Justice Center Director Mary Meg McCarthy. “And while Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggests that increasing numbers of deportations make society safer, in reality most of the detained immigrants encouraged to sign away their rights and be deported had no criminal charges against them.”

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