Northeastern’s newest law pro­fessor, an expert on immi­gra­tion policy, says it is too easy to detain and deport immi­grants, even green-​​card holders, on minor legal infractions.

What’s more, says Rachel Rosen­bloom, changes made to immi­gra­tion laws in 1996 have led to increased inci­dents of wrongful deportation—situations nearly impos­sible to resolve through the Amer­ican legal system.

There are a lot of errors in the system, which gives very broad powers (related to deten­tion and depor­ta­tion) to author­i­ties, with very little over­sight from the courts,” says Rosen­bloom, assis­tant pro­fessor of law. “Even per­ma­nent res­i­dents can be deported over a minor infrac­tion, and once they’re gone, they are often barred from the United States for life.

Many people have been deported in error, and even if they leave behind family mem­bers who are U.S. cit­i­zens, there is no legal mech­a­nism to allow them to return to the U.S.”

Joining North­eastern from Boston Col­lege, where she was a fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Inter­na­tional Jus­tice, Rosen­bloom plans to con­tinue researching and writing on the need for changes to U.S. immi­gra­tion policy.

Laws con­cerning drugs and other legal infrac­tions are much more strin­gent for immi­grants than they are for U.S. cit­i­zens, she notes, explaining that a long­time legal res­i­dent can be sub­ject to manda­tory deten­tion and depor­ta­tion for selling $5 worth of marijuana.

Newer laws, aimed at fast-​​tracking depor­ta­tion, only increase the chance that errors will occur, she adds.
“There are so many people who are marooned without legal remedy,” Rosen­bloom says, adding that her cur­rent research focuses on extending the reach of the Amer­ican legal system to pro­vide recourse to those who have been wrongly deported.

Rosen­bloom tes­ti­fied in Feb­ruary 2008 before a U.S. House sub­com­mittee on the wrongful deten­tion and depor­ta­tion of U.S. cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents, and also par­tic­i­pated in a recent round­table dis­cus­sion on immi­gra­tion enforce­ment New York Uni­ver­sity (NYU) School of Law.

Prior to earning her law degree from NYU in 2002, Rosen­bloom worked for a number of years in inter­na­tional human rights doc­u­men­ta­tion and immi­grant rights advo­cacy. She has also prac­ticed labor law with a par­tic­ular focus on immi­grant workers, and has clerked in fed­eral dis­trict court.

At North­eastern, Rosen­bloom plans to con­tinue to research and write about abuses related to the treat­ment of immigrants.