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Immigration Officers Deporting Repeat Offenders Before Conclusion of Court Hearings

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Immigration officials are angering some immigration attorneys, who say the agency is wrongly deporting immigrants before their court hearings are completed. Immigration officials say these immigrants violated previous deportation orders. Immigration attorneys say once the case goes before a judge, it’s up to the judge to decide what to do, not immigration officers.

By Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times

Fernando Arteaga appeared last week in Immigration Court as part of a lengthy battle to stay in the United States. But just before the hearing began, immigration officers removed him from the courtroom, arrested him and took him into custody.

Several hours later, agents deported him to Mexico — even though his court case was still underway.

Arteaga, 44, is among a small number of immigrants picked up in recent weeks by immigration agents at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. All of the people arrested there had been previously deported and all had criminal records, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

Immigration agents are reinstating previous orders of deportation, Kice said, which “enables the nation’s immigration judges to focus on the cases of those aliens who have not had their day in court.”

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Time May 26, 2009 at 1:11 am

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