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Courts should insist on heightened procedural protections in immigration adjudication. They should do so under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause rather than by importing Sixth Amendment protections from the criminal context. Traditional judicial oversight and the Due Process Clause provide a better basis than the Sixth Amendment to interpose heightened procedural protections in immigration proceedings, especially those involving removal for a serious criminal conviction. The Supreme Court’s immigration jurisprudence in recent years lends support for this approach. The Court has guarded the availability of judicial review of immigration decisions. It has affirmed that courts are the arbiters of constitutional issues (including due process) and criminal statutory interpretation. The Court has accorded agency deference on matters of agency expertise, which does not include interpretation of criminal law and convictions. And the Court has created generally applicable procedural protections in order to minimize court interference with substantive immigration policy. Guided by these core concepts, courts are poised to develop procedural protections for immigrants in removal proceedings that are tailored to the institutional interests at stake and protective of immigrants. By constitutionalizing immigration on its own path, courts may also avoid some of the pitfalls of a Sixth Amendment–based criminal-rights model.

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33 Cardozo L. Rev. 491 (2011)