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We constantly hear that undocumented immigrants are not obeying the “rule of law” or that because we are “country of laws” undocumented immigrants need to be arrested and deported regardless of their situation and the consequences to either them or the U.S. These phrases are thrown about randomly because they surely sound good. There is an maxim in the law–“bad facts make for bad law.”

The worst of these laws, commonly known as the 3/10 year bar, is found in the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA), section 212(a)(9) (B)(i)(II). This law has caused more familial separation, hardship and heartache, them most of the rest of the bad immigration laws combined. This laws says that if you are in the U.S. illegally for more than 1 year and leave (even if you are leaving to “fix” your immigration situation by trying to reenter legally with a visa), you cannot come back to the U.S. for 10 years

The rule of law has as its basis “good” laws. Our immigration system is full of bad laws. Laws that are unworkable in their enforcement and unfair in their impact. The Rule of Law needs to be something we can live by, not something that nothing more than a platitude.

January 2011