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Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis




The large-scale deportation of noncitizens from the United States is not new. However, the speed, and secrecy, by which many of these deportations are carried out is unprecedented. Deportations are, increasingly, executed not through a legal court process, but rather, extrajudicially—in detention centers and at border crossings, outside the purview of judges or neutral adjudicators. One kind of this “shadow deportation” is what I term “third country deportation”—the removal of noncitizens to a country other than that designated by an Immigration Judge, after relief to the designated country has been granted, and after the court proceeding has concluded.

This article builds upon the work of other scholars who have illuminated deportations that occur in the shadows—including expedited removal, administrative removal and reinstatement of removal—all of which happen quickly, and largely without judicial review. This article argues that “third country deportations” are not only part of this growing, and dangerous, trend toward deportations that happen outside the courtroom, but that they are in direct violation of both our domestic and international legal obligations. In fact, third country deportations place already vulnerable noncitizens at risk of being removed to countries where they face persecution and torture, without the process and judicial oversight that a court proceeding provides. In order to comply with our legal obligations, this article contends that notice, burden shifting, and a full evidentiary hearing are required when the government seeks to remove a noncitizen to a country other than that designated by an Immigration Judge.

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