If there are two groups of individuals who currently have very little

support among the American people and legislature, it is surely

immigrants and criminals. As a result, the brunt of the 1996 immigration

reforms fell hardest upon those with criminal backgrounds. The campaign

to reform the immigration laws was sold to the American public as a

campaign to expel "undeserving aliens," chief among them the so-called

"criminal aliens.' However, this politically expedient reform was executed

at the expense of the United States obligation of non-refoulement under the

Convention Relating to Refugees. As a result, untold numbers of refugees

are now eligible to be returned to certain death and imprisonment because

of minor or unproven criminal histories. Every such instance of

refoulement will constitute a violation of international law.