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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Trump Pledges to Work with Congress to Help DREAMers

    by , 01-23-2017 at 03:59 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via NPR:

    "Earlier today, the new White House Chief of Staff offered a hint of what the Trump administration has planned for thousands of immigrants who now have temporary legal status. Reince Priebus told Fox News this morning that the Trump administration would work with House and Senate leaders to find a long-term solution for immigrants who now have temporary legal status under the so-called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as DACA."

    Tags: congress, daca, trump Add / Edit Tags
  2. Obama Admin SCOTUS Argument Would Make it Easier for Trump to Deport Immigrants

    by , 01-19-2017 at 09:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Obama's parting shot at immigrants, via the Washington Post:

    "The Obama administration tried to persuade the Supreme Court Tuesday to retain a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.

    If the justices agree, the outcome could help the incoming Trump administration fulfill its pledge to step up the deportation of immigrants who are convicted of crimes.

    The justices heard argument in the administration’s appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down the law as unconstitutional. The case concerns a provision of immigration law that defines a “crime of violence.” Conviction for a crime of violence subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process.

    It was unclear from the argument how the court would rule."

    Click here for the full article.
  3. Identity of Immigration Judges Subject to Complaints of Misconduct Revealed

    by , 01-17-2017 at 09:57 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The following was originally published by immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson on January 16, 2017:

    The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has aggressively concealed the identities of Immigration Judges in connection with complaints of misconduct made against them for several years.

    Until today.

    In response to a FOIA from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the DOJ released over 14,000 pages of documents in connection to 770 complaints made against immigration judges between 2008 and 2013. The lawsuit is still pending, and DOJ has yet to reveal any of the identities of the Immigration Judges.

    This past weekend, I discovered that a significant portion of the documents released by the DOJ were not, in fact, redacted.

    Using the information gleaned from the un-redacted documents, I identified 58 immigration judges with 443 complaints. In other words, over half of the complaints are now matched with the immigration judge whom the complaint was made against.

    Here is a modified key, which you can use to identify complaints in AILA’s database linked to above with the corresponding Immigration Judge.

    Here are additional documents I have already combined for the general public’s use:

    IJ Vomacka Complaints

    IJ Hom Complaints
    IJ Cassidy Complaints
    IJ Wilson Complaints
    IJ Nugent Complaints
    IJ Ford Complaints
    IJ Pelletier Complaints
  4. Mothers Held in Deportation Jail for 17 Months Pen Letter to Obama

    by , 01-12-2017 at 10:20 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Dear Mr. BARACK OBAMA, we are addressing you as a group of mothers who have been locked up for 17 months at BERKS COUNTY RESIDENTIAL CENTER in LEESPORT, PENNSYLVANIA.

    We are 16 families who have come for refuge, protection and help to the United States of America, but we are in a situation where we do not know what is going to happen to us, especially in this new phase of government transition. So we ask you to take conscience and give us the opportunity to finally be free.

    The only offense we committed was to enter without permission to the United States, for the sole reason of protecting the lives of our children from the extreme violence that we live in our countries. We are in a desperate situation.

    The federal court has granted us a stay while our lawyers request the Supreme Court to evaluate our case. Until this Court makes a final decision, we cannot be deported. While we expect the Supreme Court to give fair consideration to the fundamental rights of persons seeking refuge and asylum, we also urge you and your administration to consider the harm that this prolonged detention has caused us, the mothers and children who have lived detained for so long.

    It is not fair to spend 2 Christmases with our children in prison. They are psychologically ill and need specialized medical attention. With our children detained for so long, we, their mothers, feel powerless because they cry and ask us "When will we leave this JAIL?" "When can we have a NORMAL life?"

    All we ask for is an opportunity to present our asylum cases in order to stay in this country. We feel we can not return to our countries of origin. The conditions for women and children in our countries are getting worse every day, and because of this, every day we fear more for our lives and the lives of our children. Besides, we have families and legal advisers in this country ready to support us at every step of this process. We just ask for one opportunity.

    In previous days, we have seen in the news that you pardoned a group of people with criminal records, and we want to emphasize that the only "illegal" thing we have done is to have crossed the Rio Bravo without permission (which we believe we have already paid for, given the long time we have been in detention), to ask for protection for our families.

    The only thing we ask is that you pardon us, just as you did with these other people, you who still have the power to do so, and allow us to reunite with our families, who are waiting for us since 2015.

    We expect a prompt response, thank you in advance.


  5. Health Care Professionals Urge Pennsylvania Court to Reject License for Family Detention Facility

    by , 01-10-2017 at 10:02 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Human Rights First:

    New York City—A group of twenty-two doctors, psychologists, nurses, and social workers last week urged the Pennsylvania Bureau of Hearings and Appeals to reject the Berks County's appeal for the Berks County Residential Center, a family detention facility, to be relicensed as a childcare facility. The call came in an amicus brief filed in support of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which refused to renew the license for the facility last year.

    “This filing is a reflection of what we have long known—that detention, even for short amount of time—is harmful to children’s mental and physical health,” said Human Rights First’s Robyn Barnard. “The health professionals who signed this brief have witnessed the catastrophic impacts that detention can have on children’s long-term well-being.”

    Last month a Texas judge blocked the issuance of licenses for family immigration detention facilities in Karnes and Dilley, Texas.

    Human Rights First has long-documented the negative mental and physical health impacts of detention on children and their parents. Leading pediatricians, physicians, and social workers have found that detention, even for short periods of time, can lead to depression, anxiety, behavioral regressions, and suicidality in children. At present, the families detained at Berks have experienced an average of over 200 days of detention.

    The amicus brief stated that "many of the children held at the detention center experience significant mental, physical, and emotional health problems, which may permanently impact their social and psychological development. These children, the vast majority of whom are seeking asylum based on persecution in their home countries, have experienced significant trauma, which is exacerbated by their detention." Human Rights First notes that none of the three family detention centers in the United States has an operating license consistent with the requirements under the Flores Settlement Agreement.

    “After just a few weeks in detention some children at the Berks family detention center exhibit ‘symptoms of behavioral regression,’ including ‘oppositional-defiant disorder, depression, anxiety, and increased aggression,’” wrote the signatories of the amicus brief. “These negative feelings and mental health problems only intensify as the length of time in detention increases. Some children have spent over 450 days in detention at the center, and others have been held in detention for almost half of their lives.”

    Human Rights First reiterates its call for the Obama Administration end the harmful practices of detaining families, a practice which also violates U.S. human rights commitments. Late last year the DHS Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers recommended that the administration end its policy of detaining children and their families.

    A broad array of voices have called on the administration to end the practice of detaining families, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Bar Association, Catholic and Lutheran Bishops, and 178 members of Congress and 35 senators.

    In 2015 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson calling for an end to the administration's detention of families. They emphasized that detention, which is associated with poorer health outcomes, makes the situation worse for already vulnerable mothers and children. The AAP also questioned whether family detention facilities were capable of providing generally recognized standards of care for children.
    “If… the detention center remains licensed, substantial harm will result to children within the Commonwealth,” wrote signatories of the brief.

    For more information or to speak with Barnard contact Corinne Duffy at or 202-370-3319.
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