DEPORTATION OF PERSONS LIKELY TO QUALIFY FOR
PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP UNDER IMMIGRATION REFORM
Immigration reform in the United States
will probably create pathways to American citizenship
for many foreign
nationals now settled in the USA.
Anticipating these changes of immigration law,
it would be possible for the U.S. government to suspend
all deportation actions for citizens of other countries
who will probably qualify
for some pathway to citizenship
once new immigration laws become effective.
Perhaps half of the estimated 12 million
now settled in the USA without permission
will ultimately qualify for permanent resident status
The other half of will return to their countries of citizenship.
THE PRESIDENT COULD IMPLEMENT AN INTERIM POLICY
RESULTS OF IMMIGRATION REFORM.
2. LIKELY QUALIFICATIONS FOR EARNING U.S. CITIZENSHIP.
THE HALF WHO WILL BE REPATRIATED.
FOREIGN NATIONALS IN U.S. PRISONS FOR ORDINARY CRIMES.
FOREIGN NATIONALS COULD SERVE THEIR JAIL-TIME
6. WHAT ABOUT THE FAMILIES OF CONVICTED FOREIGN
CONSIDERED ON ITS OWN MERITS.
8. IMMIGRATION REFORM WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON CRIME IN AMERICA.
LAW-ABIDING FOREIGN NATIONALS
WILL HAVE THE
BEST CHANCES OF EARNING AMERICAN
10. DEPORTATION OF DREAMers
SUSPENDED IN JUNE 2012 .
DEPORTATION OF PERSONS LIKELY TO QUALIFY FOR
A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP UNDER IMMIGRATION REFORM
James Leonard Park
Reforming the immigration laws of the United States
will probably be a long and complex political process.
It could take several years to make the major changes obviously needed.
And in the meantime, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
has the legal authority to repatriate any citizen of another country
who is found anywhere inside the USA (or its territories)
if that foreign national does not have official permission to be here.
If present practice continues
during the interim
period of creating new immigration law,
then some people will be sent back to their homelands
who might have qualified to stay in America.
After American immigration laws are reformed,
justice will be extended to people born in other lands
who entered the USA without permission (or
were brought as children).
from the perspective of the revised laws,
some people who were sent back to their homelands
will then be perceived as potential citizens
who should have been
permitted to stay.
In other words, it will be perceived that it was
unjust to deport them,
even if the law at the time of their return to their homelands
assumed that deportation was the correct response
to the discovery of any foreign nationals
living anywhere in the USA without
1. THE PRESIDENT COULD
IMPLEMENT AN INTERIM POLICY
THE LIKELY RESULTS
An executive order should be sufficient to establish
a new policy
with regard to deportation of foreign nationals
whose only violation of law is being settled in the USA without
Morton Memo—linked from the end
of this essay—
appeared one day
after this essay was first published on the Internet.
If executive order
does not seem to be the best way,
the Department of Homeland Security could use its discretion to
as a way to defer action
for those foreign nationals
most likely to qualify for a pathway to American citizenship
without deportation could be part of such an interim policy.
The President could end
All foreign nationals settled in the USA without previous
would be required to register with
the U.S. government,
but such registration would not
trigger deportation proceedings.
Those foreign nationals who know they have the best
of being offered pathways to American citizenship
will be the first to register themselves and their whole families.
And the public fact that
they were not deported
should encourage other foreign nationals
voluntarily to come out of the shadows to register
Registration with the United States Department of
would not guarantee a
pathway to American citizenship.
A small percentage of foreign nationals who voluntarily register
will ultimately be required to return to their homelands.
But those who register
voluntarily will have a better chance at
than those foreign nationals who decide to remain in the shadows.
Along with the opening of registration,
the President could announce the most likely criteria
to be used for offering citizenship to
Here is another on-line essay suggesting some likely criteria:
Immigrants: Criteria for Selecting New Americans
2. LIKELY QUALIFICATIONS FOR EARNING U.S. CITIZENSHIP.
Eventually new criteria will be defined
earning citizenship in the United States of America.
Here are twelve factors likely
to be considered:
B. EARN A COLLEGE DEGREE.
C. BE EMPLOYED IN A LEGITIMATE OCCUPATION.
D. PAY ALL TAXES.
E. REGISTER WITH THE SELECTIVE SERVICE.
F. SERVE IN THE U.S. MILITARY.
G. REGISTER WITH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.
H. LIST ALL RELATIVES WHO ARE U.S. CITIZENS.
I. DOCUMENT HOW LONG YOU HAVE LIVED IN THE USA.
J. APPLY FOR NATURALIZATION AS EARLY AS PERMITTED.
K. GET A DRIVER'S LICENSE.
L. FOLLOW ALL LAWS.
These are explored in another on-line essay:
"Earning American Citizenship: Be Above Average":
3. THE HALF WHO WILL BE REPATRIATED.
Immigration reform will not offer blanket
amnesty to all foreign nationals.
First, any such amnesty would be resisted by conservatives in Congress.
And second, it would not be good for America
to tolerate certain people in our population.
(Here is the basic
reason we should not declare blanket amnesty:
Allowing all citizens of other countries settled in the USA to remain
would strongly encourage more millions
to enter the United States without permission.)
About half of
the foreign nationals
already settled in the USA without permission
will probably be allowed to
stay and to earn U.S. citizenship.
But the other half will
return to their countries of citizenship.
registration without deportation is
those foreign nationals least
likely to be
offered pathways to
will not voluntarily
They will do their best not
to be noticed by any government
The announced likely criteria for earning American
will name factors that exclude
certain foreign nationals.
The most likely of these excluding
factors will be criminal
(Here we mean all crimes other than violating immigration laws.)
Citizens and non-citizens are regularly arrested, tried,
convicted, & imprisoned
for violating local, state, & federal laws.
When such violations are serious
enough to warrant prison time,
then they will probably be serious enough crimes
to exclude the
convicted criminals from U.S. citizenship.
Or foreign criminals could be excluded from American citizenship
for convictions that led to sentences of more than one year in prison.
4. FOREIGN NATIONALS IN U.S.
PRISONS FOR ORDINARY CRIMES.
One of the first things that happens after any
is taking a photograph
of the person arrested.
This is one step in fully
identifying the alleged criminal.
Complete identification should always include country of citizenship.
Eventually the USA will probably have a complete list of
Thus, the identity of arrested persons should be kept in a format
that will later be compatible with this future national
Whatever data-bases have already been created for
should be consulted to see if this person has been arrested before.
Trials and convictions will also be included in the same data-bases.
Whenever convicted criminals are identified as
great care should be observed to make certain that these persons
are also registered with the
U.S. Department of Homeland
Since persons who have violated local, state, or
(and who as a result have been sentenced to serve some time in jail or
are not likely to
become eligible for any pathways to American
the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
should be kept fully informed about each convicted foreign criminal.
While any convicted criminals are serving their
as imposed by the regular criminal-justice systems in the USA,
their citizenship should be
carefully investigated and documented.
There are about 100,000 inmates in state and federal
who are foreign nationals living in the USA without permission.
This is about 5% of all prisoners in the United States
and less than 1% of all foreign nationals settled in the USA
Instead of releasing foreign criminals back into
the general population
after they have served their time in prison,
they should be handed over to ICE for possible deportation.
If it seems likely that they will never become U.S.
no matter how liberal our immigration reforms,
then repatriation should follow any term of imprisonment
in the USA.
The federal prison system could require that all
be handed over to ICE for possible return to their countries of
when their sentences are completed.
Many local and state prison systems will voluntarily
in collecting and verifying citizenship information for each inmate.
And federal law might be changed to require such cooperation
from all prisons that receive any form of federal assistance.
Also ICE might pay a per
capita fee for each foreign inmate turned
This should cover additional costs to investigate and document
of all inmates.
Since these foreign prisoners are already in
why not turn them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Then, if possible, they might serve their prison-time in their
In any case, they should never be released into the
without a ruling by an
immigration judge permitting them to stay in the
Deportation proceedings should begin
foreign nationals are still in prison.
This will save all of the costs normally associated with
identifying and locating citizens of other countries
who are settled in the USA without permission.
Because they are already in safe custody,
there is no danger of them disappearing once again
as a response to opening the proceedings needed to deport them.
And if their jail-time expires before their
citizenship-status has been confirmed,
they should be kept in some sort of custody or supervision
until their final
destination has been decided.
If we agree that foreign nationals
convicted of serious crimes while living in the USA
have no chance of
being offered American citizenship,
then they should be returned to their countries of citizenship
(along with other members of their families when appropriate)
as soon as their jail-time is completed.
5. FOREIGN NATIONALS COULD SERVE THEIR JAIL-TIME
COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN.
If immigration reform in the United States
makes it clear that convicted criminals will never qualify for U.S.
then it might be possible to deport foreign nationals
who have been convicted of crimes of the USA
to serve their sentences in the countries where they hold
Before any such deportation of convicted criminals
we must be certain
that the receiving country will put the
criminal in prison
to serve a sentence of the same duration as would be imposed in the
When we do not have
such assurances from the country of origin,
then the foreign criminal will have to serve their prison-time in the
Individuals convicted of any crime in the USA
will have their identities carefully recorded by the criminal-justice
And if they are foreign nationals to be returned to their homelands,
their pictures and other identifying details will also be preserved
by the United States Department of Homeland Security,
just in case they attempt to re-enter the USA
after they are released from prison in their home countries.
6. WHAT ABOUT
Whenever criminals are removed from the general
this has an impact on whatever families they have.
This applies both to families who are citizens of the USA
and to families that include some non-citizens.
Usually the closest family members knew about
the criminal activity.
And they might have tried to protect themselves
by avoiding involvement in the criminal behavior.
In some cases, family members reported
All such factors should be taken into account
in deciding what to do with the other family members
of foreign criminals who must now go to jail for ordinary crimes.
If it has been determined by ICE that the foreign
will be repatriated after the term in prison has been completed,
then careful planning can be made for other family members.
In some cases, it will be better for the family to return to their
immediately after the criminal has been arrested.
Family unity should be honored above citizenship.
This will apply to families with both citizens of the USA and
It might be best for the
whole nuclear family to be returned
to the country where most adults in the family hold citizenship
after the term of imprisonment of one family member.
All minor children who are U.S. citizens
would have an automatic
right to return to the USA
after they are old enough to live on their own.
When it is known that the whole family will be
by any arrest, trial, & conviction for any violation of law,
then other family members
will exert pressure
on the person who is committing crimes.
Because the whole family might be deported
as a result of a criminal conviction of one member,
the law-abiding members of the family
might help to prevent the criminal
7. EACH FAMILY-CONSTELLATION
CONSIDERED ON ITS OWN MERITS.
Each and every family member has a different
And decisions about one family member will necessarily affect the
Past immigration enforcement has sometimes been rigid in enforcing the
taking the whole family into account.
foreign nationals already settled in America
will probably be
granted some right to remain in the USA.
This means that many members of families of convicted criminals
will be offered pathways to citizenship
even if some family members were repatriated
because of their criminal behavior.
Some people who would normally have qualified
for American citizenship
will be kept together with other family members
who are returned to
their countries of citizenship.
Later they can apply to be admitted to the USA
under whatever new immigration policies are then in effect.
Above all, decisions should be made by immigration
that will do the most good
and the least harm to
all family members.
Prison sentences must be served either in the USA or in some other
What would be best for all family members
both during and after the term in prison
for the convicted
8. IMMIGRATION REFORM
WILL HAVE AN
IMPACT ON CRIME IN AMERICA.
Immigration reform in the United States of America
will probably offer pathways for earning American citizenship
for the many
foreign nationals now settled in the USA.
foreign nationals (eg those convinced of ordinary crimes)
will probably not be
offered U.S. citizenship.
Immigration reform might also create other criteria
which will exclude
would-be Americans from citizenship.
But criminal behavior (either in the home country or while living in
is a likely factor that will exclude
The first impact of any such new immigration policy
will be on the criminal behavior of foreign nationals already settled
in the USA.
Crimes serious enough to earn time in a U.S. prison
will not only put the foreign criminal into jail to serve that sentence,
but violating any local, state, or federal law (except immigration laws)
might exclude that person from any hope of becoming a
Exceptions will always be possible for special
But criminal behavior is likely to be the most serious reason
for denying any
foreign national the privilege
of becoming a U.S.
Once such immigration reform comes into operation,
all foreign nationals already settled in the USA
who hope to qualify for American citizenship at some later time
will be strongly motivated
to avoid criminal behavior.
They will know that crime will not only put them into prison,
but it will result in deportation either during the prison-sentence
or after the prison-sentence has been served in an American jail.
In other words, the potential criminal who is also a
will know in advance the implications of any criminal behavior today:
Law enforcement will catch the criminal.
A fair trial will be conducted (or the prisoner can plead guilty).
If the arrested foreign national is convicted,
a prison-term will be served in the USA.
And in addition, that criminal conviction will probably lead to
The foreign national will already be in custody for
And he or she will not
be released into the general population
after the imposed sentence has been served.
Rather, the foreign criminal will be processed by ICE
for possible deportation after the sentence has
And careful records of the identity of each such
will be maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
and by all the most relevant law-enforcement agencies.
This will prevent them from ever attempting to re-enter the USA.
And if they are ever discovered in the United States,
they will be immediately deported once again.
When there are minor children involved,
they will also be re-settled in the country where the parents will be
Care and compassion should govern the methods for
all who must be returned to their countries of citizenship
under new immigration laws in the USA.
The impact of this additional 'punishment'
deportation for convicted foreign criminals
might make the underground population of hidden foreign
even more law-abiding than the average American citizen.
Not only will foreign nationals settled in the USA
seek never to be discovered by any agency of government,
but they might try even harder to avoid any behavior
that could result in a criminal conviction.
9. LAW-ABIDING FOREIGN
WILL HAVE THE BEST CHANCES
EARNING AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP.
Of the millions of citizens of other countries
already settled in the USA,
the vast majority are already following most laws.
They will not be arrested for any criminal behavior.
They will not go to jail for any violation of ordinary local, state, or
And if they fulfill the other criteria for
set forth in new immigration laws,
they will improve their chances of becoming American citizens.
Ending automatic deportation of foreign nationals
might become a first step toward a new United States of
10. DEPORTATION OF DREAMers
SUSPENDED IN JUNE 2012.
On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland
announced "deferred action" for all foreign nationals
who would qualify
for the DREAM act.
By administrative decision (in contrast to new legislation),
foreign nationals who were children
when they were brought into the USA
(age 15 or below) were no longer subject to immediate deportation
if they were less than 31 years old on June 15, 2012.
They were not prosecuted for the immigration violations of their
And, unless they were convicted of serious crimes,
they were given temporary authorization to work in the USA.
Such two-year authorizations were renewed on a case-by-case basis.
This "deferred action for childhood arrivals" DACA
was not amnesty.
And it did not automatically open a pathway to American citizenship.
Also, after the foreign nationals registered with the U.S. government,
the months under this new status did not count as months 'out of
All further questions of legal residence and possible citizenship
will have to be established by immigration reform at some later time.
Deciding not to prosecute DREAMers already settled
in the USA
did not encourage additional unauthorized immigration,
because DACA required at least 5 years
of continuous presence in the USA up to and including June 15, 2012.
As of the likely end of DACA under the new
administration in 2017,
about 750,000 foreign young adults were registered.
This is something less than half of all who would have been eligible.
Those who decided not to apply during the
4-1/2 years of DACA
might give us some foreshadowing of the proportion
of other foreign nationals settled in the USA without permission
who might voluntarily come forward to register themselves
if they were told in advance that such registration
would not cause them to be deported.
Under any system of voluntary registration,
the best candidates of U.S. citizenship will come forward
and those who have the most valid fears of being deported
will attempt to remain in the shadows.
June 16, 2011; Revised 6-17-2011; 6-23-2011; 9-22-2011; 9-23-2011;
3-24-2012; 6-19-2012; 1-24-2013; 7-9-2013; 7-29-2013; 8-3-2013;
8-13-2014; 10-27-2015; 3-30-2016; 10-29-2016; 12-22-2016;
The United States Immigration and Customs
is now operating under an interim set of guidelines
for deciding when to prosecute foreign nationals
who have violated U.S.
Twenty factors are worth considering:
Guidelines for and against Deportation.
James Park is himself a grateful immigrant to the
He was admitted as a child with his whole family in 1949.
And he became a naturalized U.S. citizen with the rest of his family in
The United States has been enriched by each member of his family.
Immigration reform will allow millions more people born in other
to become open, meaningful members of the American family.
Much more about James Park will be found on
which has lots more interesting reading.
This digital library contain other essays about
Millions of Foreign Nationals out of the Shadows .
Foreign Nationals in the USA:
How Many Will Stay?
Be Above Average
New Criteria for Selecting New Americans .
Immigration into the United States .
I am an
Immigration Problems and Solutions:
Keeping the Debate Constructive .
A Range of Options .
If They Cannot
Work, They Will Not Come:
And Many Will Return to their Homelands .
Born in the USA:
The Easy Way to Become a U.S. Citizen
Repatriation of Citizens of other Countries and their Families
Identity File .