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Forced 'voluntary departure' at center of ACLU lawsuit

"Voluntary departure" sounds, well, voluntary. Ignoring the literal, "voluntary departure" also sounds like something that is mutually agreed upon -- that both the individual departing and the party informing him or her that they must depart understand that the circumstances warrant this action. It seems, for lack of a better term, "fair."

However, you will be surprised (or, given the context, maybe not so surprised) to hear that immigration officials are under fire after they forced seven Mexican nationals to "voluntarily" depart the United States. That certainly isn't keeping with the "fair" side of things, now is it?

The seven people who were forced to leave the country had no criminal history; and as far as we know, they were simply taken in for entering the country illegally. While that is a crime, we do not know the specific circumstances surrounding these seven people; and even with it being a crime, these people do have basic rights afforded by U.S. law, let alone other human rights in accordance with the Constitution.

Immigration officials, though, chose to ignore these things and coerced the seven people to sign deportation papers under the guise of it being "voluntary." They lied to these people to make them sign a document that makes the signer forfeit his or her right to an immigration hearing.

The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of these seven people who were clearly wronged, if the evidence is true. They are suing the U.S. Government over the ordeal, a lawsuit that could involve a larger group of people than just these seven individuals.

Source: Bloomberg, "Mexican Nationals Sue U.S. Over 'Voluntary Departure'," Edvard Pettersson, June 4, 2013

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