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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. Michelle Obama’s Powerful Voice is Needed to Put an End to Family Detention

    by , 07-26-2016 at 01:08 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Last night I watched Michelle Obama’s eloquent and persuasive speech in Philadelphia that many will remember as the highlight of the Democratic National Convention. The First Lady invoked vivid images of her children, and the joy she experienced watching them grow from “bubbly little girls” into poised young women. I couldn’t help but think to myself, where has Mrs. Obama’s powerful voice been over the last two years when an entirely different set of children were under the watchful eye of “big men with guns” and “black SUVs.”

    No, I’m not talking about Trump’s kids, but children from Central America who have been locked away in remote deportation internment camps, where they are held in substandard and life threatening conditions by Mrs. Obama’s husband, the President. Only for these vulnerable children, the big men with guns aren’t there to shuttle them off to school, but to keep them locked in cages, or to tear them from the safety of their beds and deport them in the middle of the night.

    I’m talking about the scared nine-year-old little boy suffering from a dislocated shoulder that shrieked through the night in pain and was told by facility doctors to drink more water. I think about three-year-old Catherine Checas, whose t-shirt was stained from the blood in her vomit, and the victims of sexual assault. I also think about children being caged in cold concrete cells where they sit shivering, scared, and alone.

    All I can think about is State sponsored child abuse.

    See, because that is what immigration lawyers in the trenches think about every day as we try to protect these kids through the challenges of this unusual life in the dark shadows of deportation jails, and how we urge them to ignore those who question their humanity. And yes, I just intentionally paraphrased Mrs. Obama’s speech. Deal with it.

    In all fairness, maybe Mrs. Obama’s silence was mandated by the powers that be, a.k.a. her husband. With the Wikileak release of DNC emails we recently learned that Democratic insiders viewed advocate’s calls for temporary protection of Central American children to be “irresponsible.” This is as troubling as it is outrageous, but not as outrageous as the shadow war that the Obama administration has waged against the children fleeing for their lives, or Hillary Clinton’s call to deport them in the height of the refugee crisis in order to send a clear message.

    But there is hope, if not change.

    On July 6, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Obama administration must immediately move to release detained immigrant children “as expeditiously as possible.” The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL) who represents the immigrant children in the lawsuit, has issued a demand that the Obama Administration “reassess” its “inhumane” practices of caging children in deportation jails.

    CHRCL Executive Director, Peter Schey released the following statement to the Court’s decision: "We hope this decision by the Federal Court of Appeals convinces the Obama Administration that its policy of detaining immigrant mothers and children is inhumane and illegal and must come to an end. During the past two years this Administration has wasted over one hundred million dollars unnecessarily detaining thousands of refugee children commingled with unrelated adults in unlicensed secure facilities in violation of well-established child detention standards. This disgraceful policy should now be brought to an end by President Obama."

    Victor Nieblas, the past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) was similarly disturbed. He remarked that: "Detaining and re-traumatizing children and their mothers fleeing widespread violence in Central America is a shameful legacy for President Obama to leave behind. This detention and rapid deportation policy is fundamentally inhumane, undermines refugees' access to legal counsel and fair process, and is in violation of federal Court Orders issued in the Flores class action case. It has already resulted in the wrongful deportation of children and families back into the very violence from which they fled and must end once and for all."

    Immigration lawyer and whistleblower Bryan Johnson was not so political in his response to the members of the Obama administration who he accuses of being complicit in the commission of crimes against thousands of children: “We will hold you accountable. We will not stop. Justice will be had, however long it may take.”

    So, Mrs. Obama, as your daughters set out on the world, let’s hope that when they look back they can see that their mother had the courage to fight for all children, especially the most vulnerable among us. There is still time. Please use your voice to help put an end to your husband’s shameful and illegal family detention practices.

    #EndFamilyDetention

    Updated 07-26-2016 at 05:28 PM by MKolken

  2. British Security Firm Entering United States Immigration Detention Market

    by , 06-09-2016 at 10:20 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    The British are coming! The British are coming!

    Via The Guardian:

    The British security firm Serco has moved a step closer to entering the controversial but lucrative immigration detention market in the US, as the company successfully lobbied public officials in a small Texas county near the Mexico border to propose that the federal government open a family detention centre in the jurisdiction.

    The billion-dollar company, implicated in numerous immigration detention centre scandals in the UK and Australia, has been lobbying the US government for more than a year in an effort to win detention contracts, sparking sustained criticism from immigrant rights groups.

    The firm is now proposing that a shuttered nursing home in Jim Wells County, Texas, be reopened as a family detention centre, which could hold up to 600 detainees and would become the third privately managed centre in the United States.

    The Obama administration’s use of family detention centres that hold children and mothers has become one of the most contested elements of America’s border protection program.

    Click here for the rest of the article.

    Updated 06-09-2016 at 10:23 AM by MKolken

  3. The Obama Administration has Nothing but Contempt for the Judicial Branch

    by , 06-08-2016 at 02:03 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson:

    At 11 pm this past Friday, the Obama administration filed a trove of documents with U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee to defend against allegations that their continued detention of thousands of children has “…consistently violated the Settlement since the summer of 2014 and this Court’s Orders since August 2015…Their conduct is lawless and contemptuous.”

    Ironically, the most recent disclosure emphatically shows the Obama administration has nothing but contempt for the Judicial branch. Leon Fresco, Obama’s lead family detention lawyer, claimed that the attorneys for the children “make claims that are inaccurate, misleading, or an attempt to improperly substitute their judgment regarding the operations of ICE family residential centers in place of the judgment of those authorized by Congress to administer these facilities”

    Fresco must have had a Freudian slip because the evidence his client submitted proves the only misleading party to the lawsuit is the Obama administration.

    This will be the first in several articles that analyzes the Feds’ voluminous evidence dump and shows that the Obama administration is committing an elaborate, systematic fraud on the Court, the Plaintiffs, Congress, and the U.S. public.

    To defend allegations regarding Family Detention Centers or Family Residential Centers (FRC) and border patrol holding cells, the DHS submitted 29 exhibits.

    Each declaration from ICE addresses distinct subject. This article will address to ICE’s specific allegations regarding the conditions of detention at the Berks County Residential Center.

    However, every declaration ICE submitted with respect to family detention centers alleges overlapping facts to defend prolonged detention of families.

    Click here to read Mr. Johnson's analysis.
  4. Legal Defense Fund for Families Unlawfully Detained in Deportation Jail

    by , 06-01-2016 at 10:58 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    A GoFundMe campaign has been started by immigration lawyer Carol Anne Donohoe as a legal defense fund for refugee mothers and children that are unlawfully detained in Berks County Detention Center.

    The following is her message:

    My name is Carol Anne Donohoe. I am an immigration attorney defending families pro bono who are detained at the Berks County Detention Center. These mothers and children have fled life threatening violence in Central America. They followed our laws of asylum but were greeted by unlawful detention. These families desperately need legal help so they don't get deported back to certain death. These are children, as young as 2 years old, whose parents risked everything so they could seek refuge in the United States. I need YOUR help to continue this urgent work! Any donation is appreciated. Thank you!


    Please click here to make a donation to this VERY worthy cause.
  5. Call for Ending Family Detention as “Wish for the Holidays”

    by , 12-08-2015 at 10:43 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    December 7, 2015
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT
    Ben Soskin
    (202) 225-1766
    Benjamin.Soskin@mail.house.gov

    PRESS ADVISORY - Congressional Immigration Leaders and Children to Call for Ending Family Detention as “Wish for the Holidays”
    Capitol Hill Press Conference Will Exhibit Children’s Letters to Families in ICE Custody

    Washington, DC – On Wednesday, December 9, at 12:00 PM ET, the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform and the We Belong Together Campaign will be joined by children at a Capitol Hill press conference to call for an end to America’s family detention system. Nine members of Congress will speak out about the need to end family detention, as will a child who was held in a detention facility.

    The press conference will also display enlargements of handwritten cards that elementary school-aged children have written to children who will spend this holiday season inside detention facilities. The children’s cards, which are part of We Belong Together’s “A Wish for the Holidays” letter-writing campaign, express the children’s holiday wish that the families in detention be released. Some of the local children who wrote cards will also speak at the press conference.

    WHAT: Press conference by congressional immigration leaders and children to call for an end to family detention.

    WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at 12:00 PM ET.

    WHERE: 2103 Rayburn House Office Building.

    WHO: The Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform in conjunction with the We Belong Together Campaign. Speakers include:

    · Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), chair of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform
    · Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
    · Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (IL-04)
    · Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06)
    · Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)
    · Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35)
    · Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
    · Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01)
    · Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27)
    · Sameera Hafiz, policy director at We Belong Together
    · Wendy Cervantes, vice president of immigration and child rights at First Focus
    · A child who was held in a detention facility
    · Local children who participated in the letter-writing campaign

    VISUALS: Congressmembers and children, as well as handwritten children’s letters enlarged for display.

    RSVP TO: Ben Soskin, Benjamin.Soskin@mail.house.gov.

    ###
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