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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Syrian Refugees Capture Terrorism Suspect in Germany

    by , 10-11-2016 at 08:19 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via the L.A. Times:

    A Syrian refugee suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Germany on behalf of Islamic State was captured by police early Monday in the eastern city of Leipzig after another Syrian lured him to an apartment, tied him up with the help of other refugees and turned him over to police.

    Jaber Albakr, a 22-year-old refugee, had been on the run and the subject of a nationwide manhunt since Saturday, when he fled an apartment in Chemnitz, near the Czech border, just as police stormed it. Authorities said they found a cache of explosives and other bomb-making material inside the apartment.

    Albakr was taken to Dresden, the capital of Saxony state, and charged with being an accomplice in preparations for a major act of violence.
  2. Senators Call for the Release of Children Held in Deportation Internment Camps

    by , 10-05-2016 at 01:27 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    WASHINGTON (Tuesday, October 4, 2016) – A group of leading Senators pressed the Obama administration to end the detention of women and children who have fled gang violence in their home countries. The letter led by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) came after world leaders met in New York for the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

    In their letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers note that women and children as young as two-years-old have been in detention for nearly a year or longer at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. The letter expresses concern that children at the detention facility are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.

    In addition to Leahy and Hirono, the letter is signed by: Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Senator Robert P. Menendez (D-N.J.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

    A copy of the September 27 letter to DHS Secretary Johnson is below and online.

    # # # #

    September 27, 2016

    The Honorable Jeh Johnson
    Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    Washington, D.C. 20528

    Dear Secretary Johnson:

    We write to reiterate our strong belief that the policy of family detention is wrong and should be ended immediately. Although we were encouraged to hear your announcement in August that the average length of detention for asylum-seeking mothers and children from Central America’s Northern Triangle has been reduced to 20 days or less, the ongoing use of family detention remains unacceptable.

    We are particularly concerned about the children who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for prolonged periods at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. These children range in age from two to sixteen and many have been in detention for nearly a year or longer. Recent reports from a number of media sources indicate the children are exhibiting serious health problems and experiencing psychological harms associated with prolonged detention.

    Detention of families should only be used as a last resort, when there is a significant risk of flight or a serious threat to public safety or national security that cannot be addressed through other means. We urge you to review these cases individually and release these children with their mothers immediately unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be otherwise ameliorated through alternatives to detention.

    The mothers of these children fled three of the most dangerous countries in the world to seek refuge in the United States. The brutal physical, gender-based, and sexual violence in the Northern Triangle is well-documented. Many of these mothers have asylum claims based on rape, severe domestic violence, and murder threats, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay barring the deportation of some of them until those claims can be fully resolved. The decision by ICE to detain these women and children while they pursue their claims has placed these mothers in the impossible position of choosing between their legal right to seek long-term refuge in the United States and the immediate well-being of their children. It is unconscionable to keep these children locked up and goes against our most fundamental values.

    There is strong evidence and broad consensus among health care professionals that detention of young children, particularly those who have experienced significant trauma as many of these children have, is detrimental to their development and physical and mental health. This evidence has been reinforced by specific examples of children in the Berks County facility who are experiencing adverse health outcomes due to detention. Reports indicate that room checks conducted by facility staff every fifteen minutes lead to habitual sleep deprivation among the
    children,[1] and a pediatric assessment of a six-year-old child suffering from chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder indicates that after prolonged detention the child is now showing signs of extreme stress and anxiety.[2]

    Last week, the President hosted the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis. During this summit, the United States asked other countries to follow our lead and provide protection and increased resources for the millions of people currently facing persecution around the world. However, this summit took place against the backdrop of a system of family detention in the United States that is inconsistent with our country’s longstanding commitment to provide safe and humane refuge to those fleeing persecution. The ongoing use of family detention is wrong. The prolonged detention of the mothers and children in Berks is taking a significant toll on their mental and physical well being. We urge you to review these cases immediately and use your authority to release these children with their mothers unless there is compelling evidence that they pose a specific public safety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated through alternatives to detention.


    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator
    United States Senator

    cc: The Honorable Sarah R. Saldaña
    Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Press Contact

    Press Contact
    David Carle: 202-224-3693

    Updated 10-05-2016 at 01:30 PM by MKolken

  3. Report of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers

    by , 10-04-2016 at 09:49 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released a report of the DHS Advisory Committee on the use family residential centers, a.k.a. deportation interment camps for children.

    From the introduction to the report:

    Prompted by controversy over DHS’s policies and practices relating to family detention, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the establishment of the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC or the Committee) on June 24, 2015.

    Secretary Johnson explained that:

    ICE Director Saldaña and I understand the sensitive and unique nature of detaining families, and we are committed to continually evaluating it. We have concluded thatwe must make substantial changes to our detention practices when it comes to families.

    Among the responses he announced was the formation of this Committee, “to advise Director Saldaña and me concerning family residential centers.” The Committee’s charter confirms a broadscope for our advice-giving:

    The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Assistant Secretary for U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on matters concerning ICE’s family residential centers as it relates to primary education, immigration law, physical andmental health, trauma-informed services, family and youth services, detention management, and detention reform.

    And similarly, our March 2016 tasking directed the ACFRC to:

    Develop recommendations for best practices at family residential centers that will build on ICE’s existing efforts in the areas of educational services, language services, intake and out-processing procedures, medical staffing, expansion of available resources and specialized care, and access to Legal Counsel . . . Detail mechanisms to achieve recommended efficiencies in the following focus areas:1) educational services . . . 2) language services . . . 3) detention management . . .4) medical treatment . . . 5) access to counsel.

    The recommendations include:

    DHS’s immigration enforcement practices should operationalize the presumption that detention is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for families – and that detention or the separation of families for purposes of immigration enforcement or management, or detention is never in the best interest of children. DHS should discontinue the general use of family detention, reserving it for rare cases when necessary following an individualized assessment of the need to detain because of danger or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by conditions of release. If such an assessment determines that continued custody is absolutely necessary, families should be detained for the shortest amount of time and in the least restrictive setting possible; all detention facilities should be licensed, nonsecure and family-friendly. If necessary to mitigate individualized flight risk or danger, every effort should be made to place families in community-based case-management programs that offer medical, mental health, legal, social, and other services and supports, so that families may live together within a community.

    Click here to read more of their report.

    Updated 10-04-2016 at 09:51 AM by MKolken

  4. New York Times Validates the Trump Immigration Narrative

    by , 10-03-2016 at 09:12 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I just read an article published by the New York Times that fuels the anti-immigrant fire lit by Donald Trump's presidential announcement. The article was titled: ‘They Keep Finding Bodies’: Gang Violence in Long Island Town Fuels Immigration Debate, painting the distorted picture of immigrants coming to the United States from Central America like locusts wreaking havoc on a small "hardscrabble" American town, ironically a mere 40 miles from Manhattan where Trump built his empire and made his announcement.

    To punctuate Mr. Trump's narrative, the New York Times tells a story of murdered teenagers, their battered bodies found by an elementary school, with more carnage discovered in a woods near a psychiatric hospital. The only thing missing from the article was an image of immigrants donning Jason Voorhees masks jumping a Hillary Clinton sponsored southern border fence. Of course local police are completely helpless to deal with the immigrant populated MS-13 gang who are responsible for over a dozen murders. They explain that children are terrorized, and the Times was careful to illustrate that the root cause is believed to be an increase in Central American immigrants resulting in an explosion of gang violence.

    In short, the Times may have well just written: "they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime." The Times' conveniently adopted narrative plays right into the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist xenophobia that Trump has made the cornerstone of his Presidential campaign, and that the newspaper has widely condemned, mocked, and ridiculed.

    Coincidentally, within the last week, the Times editorial board opined in their explanation of why Donald Trump should not be President that "Whatever his gyrations, Mr. Trump always does make clear where his heart lies — with the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist signals that he scurrilously employed to build his base." Apparently, the cold hypocritical heart of the Gray Lady is also filled with anti-immigrant, nativist and racist xenophobia that has been scurrilously employed to try to rebuild its dwindling subscription base.

    But remember boys and girls, it is only anti-immigrant, and racistly nativist xenophobia when a Republican defames immigrants. Democrats get a pass. (At least from the New York Times.)
  5. Immigration Judge Potentially Biased Against Gay Asylum Seekers

    by , 09-29-2016 at 10:08 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following excerpt is from a summary order issued by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

    This is not the first time IJ Michael W. Straus has erred in adjudicating an application for deferral of removal by a gay or bisexual Jamaican man. See, e.g., Walker v. Lynch, No. 15‐184, 2016 WL 4191844, at *3 (2d Cir. Aug. 9, 2016) (granting the petition for review on the grounds that IJ Straus “totally overlook[ed]” the record evidence that the Jamaican government acquiesces in the torture of gay and bisexual men). The record in this case also contains examples of conduct potentially indicative of bias. For example, IJ Straus permitted the government to engage in a line of cross‐examination asking Brown irrelevant, demeaning questions about, among other things, his genitalia and sexual performance. The BIA might consider, on remand, whether justice, or the appearance of justice, would be served by reassigning the remand to a different IJ. See Huang v. Gonzales, 453 F.3d 142, 151 (2d Cir. 2006) (reassignment is appropriate to avoid bias or the appearance of substantial injustice).

    I've never appeared before Judge Straus. If you have please put your experiences in a comment below.

    Updated 09-29-2016 at 10:33 AM by MKolken

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