by Mark Metcalf
Center for Immigration Studies
April 30, 2014
A case now working its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Lopez-Valenzuela v. Maricopa County, pits the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Arizona and its mandatory detention of accused felons who are also illegally present in the United States. Intended to prevent flight from prosecution, the measure makes it more likely offenders will stand trial and, if convicted, will eventually be deported. Urging the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the measure as unconstitutional, the ACLU asserted that no empirical data show those illegally present are a greater flight risk than any other group. Yet, immigration court records from 1996 through 2012 show 76 percent of 1.1 million deportation orders were issued against those who evaded court. In contrast, up to 96 percent of removal orders issued to persons detained pending trial, records say, were actually executed. When not detained, results were predictable.

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