Hypeoxia was fortunate to and sit down with United States immigration attorney Neal Brand and ask him his thoughts about Donald Trump’s immigration speech yesterday evening. The transcript is below:
First of all I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your day to talk about the speech and the implications from thr perspective of an immigration attorney. The first question I have is what were your thoughts on the speech in general?
In general, I felt it was one of his best speeches. I have not been impressed by the broad and general statements he has made since starting his presidential campaign. Tonight’s speech had specific policies and talked about specific laws. I would not consider myself a Trump supporter, but tonight he was organized and stayed on point.
It cannot be denied that we have many illegal immigrants in our country. It is important to figure out from an ideological standpoint who one feels as an individual about this fact. Many immigrants leave horrific, deplorable and inhumane conditions within their native countries to come here illegally, at great risk, just to find happiness and opportunity. Most do not come here to commit crimes. However, there are many people that attempt to come here through legal channels and are categorically denied. So from their perspective it is far easier to sneak in than wait in never ending lines.
Trump’s campaign has seemed to focus on two main issues this election cycle. Building a wall on the southern border of the United States to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing over into our country and deporting those here illegally. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. How practical is it from a financial standpoint to deport that many people? How long would it take and how much would it cost? How old immigration courts to be involved in this process?
We cannot financially deport all of these people. Right now we can only deport, at a maximum, 400,000 undocumented aliens per year. So to increase these numbers means a huge increase in budget directed at the immigration problem. At the same time, we have dozens of legal defenses to immigration. This would mean that more prosecutors and judges have to be hired to deal with immigration attorneys defending their clients. The cost to the government would skyrocket and it would create gridlock. Most of my immigration clients have court dates that are not scheduled until late in 2019. This does not include appeals, which can find their way from immigration court to Federal District Court. It is totally impracticable to deport or remove more people than we are currently processing. Trump’s plan cannot succeed without directly significant Federal resources towards this problem and away from others.
Some of the media have suggested that in order to deport 11 million people within the timeframe that Donald Trump has mentioned, violence and death would be involved? Why is that so?
Violence and death would stem from massive removals because a lot of these people have been in the United States for over 20 years. They own houses and companies and have US Citizen families. 95% of my clients have obtained PIN numbers from the IRS and pay their taxes. Many people consider themselves to be US Citizens, even though they aren’t. There would be mass protests and revolts if landowners and family leaders were arrested and removed. Wars have started since ancient times over land disputes. This would start a mini-war within our nation which would cause the government to devote more resources towards the problem. At the same time, many US Citizens that are sympathetic to undocumented aliens would start an underground resistance, much like we saw throughout Europe in WWII and still happening in many other parts of the world.
From a legal perspective what are the constitutional issues and roadblocks that would prevent mass deportations of that nature?
Constitutionally there are very few rights that undocumented aliens have, as they are not US Citizens. They have some though, but even those rights are somewhat muted. The legal road blocks involve the numerous defenses to removal and deportation which have been codified in our legal books for many years. Asylum, Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture and Cancellation of Removal are the most common. Some of these defenses need to be proven by a preponderance of evidence and are non-discretionary. Meaning, if the respondent undocumented alien can prove their defense the judge must stop removal as a matter of law. We have several other defenses for crime victims and victims of abuse. Beyond that there are waivers in cases that would cause extreme hardship to qualifying US Citizens if an undocumented alien is removed.
What do you think personally is the most practical way of dealing with the issue of illegal immigration in this country?
The best way to deal with the problem now is to set a comprehensive plan to give all of the non criminal undocumented aliens that currently reside in the United States a plan to legalization. I am not talking about simply paying a fine and getting a green card. I am talking about education, language learning and Americanizing many of these people. At the same time I would focus on limiting how many people enter this country illegally. This can be done by increasing border patrols and through other means. So the answer is two fold.
First, help the ones that are here. Yes, they came illegally, but the problem is so vast that it is cannot be handled in a blanket deportation manner. Second, make it harder for people to come here illegally. At some point this is the government’s fault for making it so easy to sneak into the USA. In many cases it is a willful blind eye situation and the policies are applied inconsistently and in an arbitrary manner. I have represented dozens of illegal immigrants on criminal issues in 2015-2016. It is always easier to represent an illegal alien than a US Citizen. The reason is because on a one on one basis prosecutors and judges feel bad for undocumented aliens. When I explain to the prosecutor that a conviction will destroy the alien’s family they almost always relent, even in dangerous felony type cases. If they do not completely relent, they still grant easier plea bargain agreements.