Amy F. Kimpel


Recidivism rates for individuals who are convicted of illegal entry and re-entry (U.S.C. §§ 1325 and 1326) are quite high despite post-sentencing deportations. The “holistic defense” model developed in New York City at the Neighborhood Defender Services and Bronx Defenders has been instrumental in achieving better outcomes for criminal defendants and their communities, in large part due to an emphasis on re-entry or reintegration services for defendants being released from incarceration. However, that model is difficult to implement when applied to noncitizen defendants who are to be deported. This Article argues that some attention to re-entry services for deportable non-citizen defendants improves outcomes for the individual defendants and the communities they are prosecuted in. Deportable non-citizen inmates housed in United States Bureau of Prison facilities are provided fewer educational opportunities and minimal access to drug treatment. They are ineligible for placement in residential re-entry centers. Often, non-citizens have grown up in the United States and have limited connections to their “home countries.” The majority are deported to homelessness in Mexican cities along the United States border. Some defendants are not fluent in Spanish and many defendants lack legal Mexican identification—making it nearly impossible to find work in the communities to which they have been deported. This problem will only grow if deportation rates continue to rise. This Article suggests policy changes and data collection strategies to ameliorate the difficulties that non-citizen defendants face upon postsentencing deportation, with an eye towards improving recidivism rates and keeping communities safer.

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