Deportations of non-citizens with drug convictions skyrocketed between 2007 and 2012, according to a new report by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
The group analyzed data obtained from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as more than 130 interviews with affected immigrants, families, attorneys, and law enforcement officials.
Deportations after convictions for drug possession rose 43 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the report, and deportations after convictions for sales, smuggling, manufacture, or trafficking increased 23 percent.
But the report notes that for more than 34,000 of those who were deported during that period, the most serious conviction was for marijuana possession.
And some of the transgressions described in immigration law as fitting within the aggravated felony of “drug trafficking” are actually low-level offenses, according to the report, which points to deportations for possession of as little as $5 worth of crack cocaine.
But there's evidence that that in 2015, the rise in deportations may be reversing, according to a recent study by the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
So far in fiscal year 2015, immigration judges have sided with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in just 48.4 percent of cases, according to the study.
This is the first time that judges have sided with the federal government in less than half of cases, according to the study.
Read the Human Rights Watch study HERE.
Read the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse study HERE.