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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

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  1. Obama Admin Doubling Down to Prevent Muslim Refugees From Reaching US

    by , 09-12-2016 at 03:08 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)


    Via Immigration Lawyer Bryan Johnson:

    In an interview with Fox News, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted that the Obama administration views refugees seeking asylum from the Middle East and Africa as more of a threat to the U.S. homeland than other (i.e. non-muslims) refugees seeking asylum:

    "In terms of the Southwest border, I just recently asked for them to focus on immigrants coming illegally from other hemispheres, from the Middle East and so forth, to detect them and block them before they even get to the homeland, working with governments in South America, Central America to prevent that from happening,"

    He went on:

    "You're correct that we're seeing illegal migrants coming from Africa, coming from the Middle East," Johnson told host Chris Wallace. "And we're doubling down on preventing that happening before they even reach the Southwest border."

    The Obama administration's actions are a carbon copy of what Donald Trump has stated in the past on refugee from Syria:

    "We have no idea who these people are, we are the worst when it comes to paperwork," Trump said Monday on CNBC. "This could be one of the great Trojan horses."
    "We cannot let them into this country, period," Trump said Monday. "Our country has tremendous problems. We can't have another problem."
  2. Obama Admin Still Not Targeting Serious Criminals

    by , 09-01-2015 at 05:56 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    From Syracuse University's TRAC Immigration:



    "According to ICE detainer-by-detainer records released to TRAC, during April 2015 only about one third (32%) of individuals on whom detainers were placed had been convicted of a crime. And only 19 percent had a felony conviction. Fully two-thirds had no criminal conviction of any type (see Figure 2). This contrasts sharply with the announced goal that, unless an individual "poses a demonstrable risk to national security," "ICE should only seek transfer of an alien in the custody of state or local laws enforcement" when that person had been "convicted of specifically enumerated [serious] crimes." [Emphasis supplied.]

    Data for April 2015 thus provide little evidence that ICE has begun to limit detainer requests to individuals with serious convictions, let alone to persons convicted of at least some minor offense. If anything, the trend has since moved opposite what might have been expected based on the new directive. Individuals with criminal convictions have become significantly less common among detainers issued during April 2015 than they were during the FY 2012 — FY 2013 period. As TRAC has reported, during that period half of detainers issued were for individuals with a criminal record, not just one third. An even smaller percentage — roughly one in five — had a felony conviction in either period. This seems to stand at odds to what is called for in Secretary Johnson's directives."

    TRAC also found that "fewer than one out of every five detainers seem to have met the 'special circumstances' set out under Secretary Johnson's directive; this is virtually unchanged from what was observed for the period from FY 2012 through the first four months of FY 2013."

    In sum, and as I predicted, the Obama administration's "deportation priorities" aren't worth the paper they are written on.
  3. Demand for release of 19 year old mother and her 4 year old son from ICE detention

    by , 06-09-2015 at 09:43 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    UPDATE: Bryan Johnson has indicated that his client has been removed from the United States.

    19 year old mother Lilian Oliva was deported with her 4 year old son at 6 am this morning (June 9, 2015).

    On June 3, she was found locked in a bathroom, unresponsive, after cutting her wrist in an attempt to kill herself. Her little boy spent the next 5 days as an unaccompanied minor in the secure, lock-down Karnes Jail while her mother was punished with solitary confinement.


    Lilian was never given a chance for her attorneys to file an appeal on her behalf or to pursue special immigrant juvenile status.


    I have never seen DHS (and White House) act with such willful depravity as they did following Lilian's tragic decision on June 3.


    Original letter from immigration lawyer Bryan Johnson:

    Secretary Johnson:

    I am an attorney representing Lilian Yamileth Oliva Bardales, a 19-year-old girl who attempted to kill herself on June 3, 2015 by cutting her wrists in the Karnes County Residential Center. She was driven to this desperate act because, in her own words, she would “rather be dead than” see her son fail along with her.

    I am also a retained consultant for the Plaintiffs’ counsel in connection with negotiations to end the illegal practice of family detention.

    Through this letter, I demand the immediate stay of removal and subsequent release from detention of Lilian and her son. If Lilian and her son are not released from detention to a safe place in the United States by the close of business today, evidence will be released that shows DHS has willfully detained Lilian, her son, and hundred of other families for over a month in clear violation of the law.

    The depravity of DHS’ actions against Lilian is breathtaking.

    Immediately after Lilian was found bleeding from her wrist by prison guards, she was thrown into a solitary confinement cell as punishment and stripped of all of her clothes except for a robe.

    Her 4 year old son became an unaccompanied minor yet inexplicably remained detained in a secure, lock-down prison for 5 days in clear violation of 8 U.S.C. 1232(b)(3), which requires DHS to transfer unaccompanied minor children to the custody of HHS within 72 hours. This innocent baby boy was terrorized so that DHS could remove him and his mom before she could tell her story.

    Only one day after Lilian’s attempt to kill herself, ICE officials brought her to the Honduran consulate so that she and her son could be removed immediately. Yesterday, I confirmed with an ICE official that Lilian and her son were transferred for removal to her native country of Honduras.

    Lilian is entitled to remain in the U.S. through several avenues of relief, including special immigrant juvenile status (“SIJS”) because she is under the age of 21 and reunification with her parents is not viable due to neglect or a similar basis under New York State law.

    I am acting alone in this letter. I understand that you may question the motives in penning this correspondence. Lest there be any doubt, I write this because my conscience requires it. I cannot sit back and watch DHS continue to brutalize my client, her son, and hundreds of others without any regard for the law and basic human decency.

    I sincerely hope that you act quickly in staying my client’s removal and releasing her and her son from detention immediately.

    Very Truly Yours,


    Bryan S. Johnson, Esq.

    Updated 06-09-2015 at 12:34 PM by MKolken

  4. One-Third of the Senate Calls for an End to Family Detention

    by , 06-04-2015 at 07:37 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    One-third of the United States Senate (33 members) called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to end the Obama administration's practice of jailing immigrant women and children, and requested that deportation jails only be used in circumstances where there is a serious threat to public safety or an individual is a risk of flight, and where such concerns "cannot be mitigated by alternatives to detention."

    Here is the text of the letter:

    June 1, 2015

    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 appreciate that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acknowledged in itsrecent announcement that the family detention system is in need of oversight and accountability.However, we believe the announced reforms do not go far enough. As many of us expressed toyou in a letter last October, the prolonged detention of asylum-seeking mothers and children whopose no flight risk or danger to the community is unacceptable and goes against our mostfundamental values.

    Most of these families have come seeking refuge from three of the most dangerous countries inthe world, countries where women and girls face shocking rates of domestic and sexual violenceand murder. Treating these victims like criminals is wrong. The latest data from the UnitedStates Citizenship and Immigration Service Asylum Division confirm the misguided nature ofthis detention policy, showing that 88% of the families detained across the government's threefamily detention facilities have been found to have legitimate refugee claims by establishing acredible fear of persecution if returned to their home countries.

    While these mothers and children wait their turn before an immigration judge, there are manyalternatives to detention that are more humane, cost-efficient, and will keep families together.We are deeply concerned by the growing evidence that detention of young children, particularlythose who have experienced significant trauma, is detrimental to their development and physicaland mental health. That evidence has been reinforced by specific examples of individual childrenin these detention facilities struggling to eat or sleep, and exhibiting signs of serious depression.

    We appreciate all that you have done to improve conditions at family detention facilities,however we do not believe there is any system of mass family detention that will work or isconsistent with our moral values and historic commitment to provide safe and humane refuge tothose fleeing persecution. We urge you to end the practice of presumptive detention of familiesand return to the policy of utilizing detention only as a last resort, when there is a serious publicsafety or flight risk that cannot be mitigated by alternatives to detention.

    Click here
    to download in its entirety courtesy of the ACLU.

    Updated 06-04-2015 at 07:41 AM by MKolken

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