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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. AILA: Artesia Detention Center a Due Process Failure

    by , 07-24-2014 at 02:12 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14072449 (posted Jul. 24, 2014)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

    CONTACTS:
    George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
    202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675
    gtzamaras@aila.org - bwoods@aila.org
    Washington, DC - On Tuesday, representatives from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) along with other immigration advocacy organizations visited the Artesia detention facility in New Mexico housing 400 Central American women and children. AILA observed such severe due process violations at the facility that AILA is now calling for the suspension of all deportations from there until fundamental improvements can be made.

    "The lives of children and families are at risk. I was shocked to hear of immigrant families -- including mothers with young children, some still nursing, being sent right back into the danger from which they fled with no meaningful chance to contact a lawyer," said Karen Lucas, AILA Legislative Associate, who was on the site visit. "A woman who speaks no English and has no knowledge of the American legal system can't possibly make a successful asylum claim with no lawyer and no time even to get her bearings. This is truly heartbreaking and a travesty of justice that families are in effect being denied access to asylum and other protection."


    Access to counsel at Artesia consists of little more than DHS handing out a single slip of paper with three names, as if these few service providers can represent hundreds of people. No thought has been given to how to provide access to counsel, even though planeloads of people already have been removed. Hundreds of AILA members stand ready to provide pro bono legal assistance. However, there is no effective way as of yet to match them with those who want representation but don't know how or where to ask.


    "Women are being asked to share intimate details about past persecution and violence right in front of their children because DHS has not created a safe and separate interview space," said Lucas. "Years ago DHS learned a hard lesson that detention of families is unacceptable. It was sued for bad conditions and abuses at a Texas facility that ultimately was forced to shut down. It should not be going down this path again, and absolutely should not escalate family detention to the level of 6350 more beds that the president is requesting of Congress."


    "This has to stop," said Crystal Williams, AILA's Executive Director. "We recognize that the government stood up this facility quickly, but it cannot deport people from it until due process has been provided. And Artesia is just not prepared for that. AILA calls upon the Administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to suspend these unconscionable and blanket deportation practices until they can ensure a fair and safe process."


    More than 57,000 unaccompanied children and tens of thousands more Central Americans traveling as families have crossed the border since October with most fleeing from conditions of extreme violence and poverty. The Artesia Center was opened in barracks of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. It now holds about 400 people but eventually will hold about 700 women and children.


    ###
    The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
  2. Obama Admin Deporting Mothers and Children without Counsel

    by , 07-21-2014 at 08:22 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Former Board of Immigration Appeals judge Lory Diana Rosenberg reports the following:

    Are you aware of what is going on in Artesia New Mexico. Mothers and children are essentially being ordered deported without counsel, having credible fear exams without counsel. Decisions are being made before they are moved to Artesia, and counsel can barely get into the facility; its taking up to 6 hours to get cleared to get in; there are no lawyers or legal service providers anywhere nearby, and judges in DC/VA at EOIR are doing telephonic video hearings on small tv screens.

    Ms. Rosenberg calls the outright denial of rights a travesty. I couldn't agree more.
  3. AILA: Take Action to Protect Due Process Rights of Unaccompanied Children

    by , 07-17-2014 at 03:08 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13070945 (posted Jul. 16, 2014):

    Take Action to Protect Due Process Rights of Unaccompanied Children

    Right now, Congress is debating the President’s emergency supplemental funding request to address the humanitarian crisis involving migrant children at the southern border of the United States. AILA is concerned that the process to pass this supplemental funding, which is sorely needed, will include unacceptable proposals to weaken the protections of the TVPRA for these Central American children. These proposals trade the safety of children for expediency. It would be a "round-‘em up and ship-‘em back" approach, as Senator Harkin said in opposition to such an approach.


    Please take 3 minutes today to call your Senators
    and ask them to protect these children. Subjecting Central American children to the failed Mexican screening process would be a retreat from America's commitment as a humanitarian leader and undermine our American values of putting children first and protecting them from harm.


    Congressional Switchboard: 202.224.3121

    Sample Script:
    Hi, my name is _________ from [City, State]. I am calling to urge Senator ________ to strongly oppose any rollbacks to protections for Central American unaccompanied children as Congress considers the President’s supplemental funding request.


    • The protections included in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which passed with bipartisan support and was signed by President Bush, ensures the physical safety of unaccompanied children and the proper screening for humanitarian protection and must not be weakened.
    • Unaccompanied children fleeing violence should not be returned to unsafe situations, but must be protected and cared for humanely, while assured due process.
    • As your constituent, I expect you to stand firm against any proposal that would sacrifice a child's safety for expediency.
    • The U.S. must instead find ways to reduce the violence these children face in their home countries and ensure that children who arrive to the U.S. have access to the legal counsel and services they need.

    Updated 07-17-2014 at 03:17 PM by MKolken

  4. First Planeload of Refugee Children Deported to Honduras

    by , 07-17-2014 at 01:32 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    From Democracy Now:

    As tens of thousands of children cross the U.S. border fleeing violence in their native Central American home countries, we look at the historical roots of the crisis. The United States has a long and sadly bloody history of destabilizing democratic governments in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — the very countries that are now the sources of this latest migration wave. This week saw the first planeload of children deported to Honduras since President Obama vowed to speed up the removal of more than 57,000 youth who have fled to the United States from Central America in recent months. The group of 38 deportees included 21 children between the ages of 18 months and 15 years, along with 17 female family members. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the experience of Cordova and others should demonstrate to Central Americans that "they will not be welcomed to this country with open arms."

    But U.S. funding and foreign policy has long shaped the lives of Central Americans. June 28 marked the fifth anniversary of the military coup that deposed democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, which the United States did not oppose. For analysis, we are joined by University of California-Santa Cruz Professor Dana Frank, who argues it was the coup — more than drug trafficking and gangs — that opened the doors to the violence in Honduras and unleashed an ongoing wave of state-sponsored repression. We are also joined by human rights activist and lawyer Jennifer Harbury from Weslaco, Texas, about five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Harbury’s husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, a guerrilla commander, a Mayan comandante and guerrilla, was disappeared after he was captured by the Guatemalan army in the 1980s. Harbury is the author of "Searching for Everardo: A Story of Love, War, and the CIA in Guatemala" and has spent decades pressing for classified information on her husband’s case.
  5. Obama Admin Still Turning Record Numbers of Immigration Law Violators into Criminals

    by , 07-15-2014 at 08:26 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:

    Convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry (8 USC 1325) continue to dominate the criminal enforcement of federal immigration laws. During the first six months of fiscal year 2014, according to the case-by-case government records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), two out of three immigration convictions — 24,647 out of a total of 36,256 criminal convictions — were for this offense. This ratio is little changed from the pattern of the last decade, which is striking given a recent surge in the number of people charged with felony illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326). While there was some year-to-year variation during the previous 10 year period from FY 2004-FY 2013, overall 65 percent of all immigration convictions were for illegal entry. During the first six months of the current fiscal year, 68 percent were convictions for the petty offense of illegal entry, which is punishable by up to six months in jail.

    Only around one out of every four immigration convictions have been for the more serious charge of illegal re-entry (8 USC 1326), a felony. During the first six months of FY 2014, 9,716 out of the total of 36,256 immigration convictions were for illegal re-entry — or 27 percent. This is little changed from the average of 26 percent during the previous 10 years.

    Updated 07-16-2014 at 07:38 AM by MKolken

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