All summer in the news section, we've been covering the rise of illegal immigrant deportations in Oregon. Under a new national effort which is aimed at deporting "criminal aliens", Oregon law enforcement started running arrestee's fingerprints through the federal immigration database last April; people who couldn't prove they're legal citizens would wind up shipped to an immigration detention facility in Tacoma. Then just this week, I reported on immigrants who were deported after committing very minor crimes, like not paying MAX fare.

Well, now comes the news that immigration enforcement is starting to agree with its critics. The new crackdown on immigrants has led to a monumental backlog in immigration courts: there's nearly 248,000 cases pending nationwide. So the feds are doing exactly what human rights critics said they should do and are starting to drop deportation cases of people charged with no crime or very minor crimes. If this keeps up, MAX fare-skippers might stand a chance of staying in the country after all.

  • Mark Searcy