Deporting the Mentally Ill

Saturday, August 07, 2010
Mark Lyttle, U.S. citizen mistakenly deported

Mentally ill individuals detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement are not provided legal representation when facing deportation hearings. This means those incapable of representing themselves before an immigration judge face a greater risk of being wrongly deported, according to a new report issued by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report (Deportation by Default: Mental Disability, Unfair Hearings, and Indefinite Detention in the US Immigration System) includes examples of immigrants with mental disabilities who have been detained for years because they were unable to challenge the immigration system. “Some of the people interviewed for the report did not know their own names, were delusional, could not tell time, or did not know that deportation meant removal from the United States,” wrote Human Rights Watch.
In 2008, an estimated 15% of immigrants facing deportation—at least 57,000—had mental disabilities. Although most mentally ill detainees facing deportation are in the United States illegally, some are legal residents and a few are actually U.S. citizens.
Human Rights Watch and the ACLU are urging Congress to pass legislation requiring the appointment of attorneys for all people with mental disabilities in immigration courts.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Deportation by Default (Human Rights Watch)
More U.S. Citizens Detained as Illegals (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S.-Born Citizen Mistakenly Deported (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. Citizens Detained as Illegals (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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