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The Future Relief of Immigration Law


Immigration law is in need of relief. Among the many problems affecting immigration law is the lack of respite from removal. The removal grounds—the characteristics and acts that render someone removable from the United States—are extremely broad and rigid. The only available penalty is removal. There is little proportionality in immigration law and qualifying for respite once one is determined to be removable is very difficult. This Article explores the lack of relief from removal in immigration law and shows how its stingy availability sheds light on other, broader problems afflicting immigration law. The current state of relief from removal helps to understand the conflicting signals of immigration law, the dysfunction of the immigration adjudication system, and the role of sovereignty in immigration law. This Article is a part of a symposium on the twentieth anniversary of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.