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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal


  1. Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, talks with Chris Hayes about the divisions in the Tea Party movement over anti-immigration sentiment and the expectations pro-immigration activists have for President Obama.

    by , 03-10-2010 at 06:39 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
  2. DHS tries to spin Obama's Record on Mass Deportations

    by , 03-09-2010 at 06:08 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Facing harsh criticism from immigration advocates regarding the 387,790 people that the Obama Administration has deported from the United States since he took office, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is attempting to spin a report that contains deportation numbers for Fiscal Year 2009.The Washington Post has reported that a DHS spokesman is trying to minimize the number of individuals "deported" by President Obama by excluding individuals who have received "voluntary departure" and who have not actually been removed from the United States under an order of removal (deportation).This is nothing more than political spin.  Voluntary departure is a euphemism for voluntary deportation. Although an individual may avoid the stigma of an order of removal if they are granted voluntary deportation by attesting to their willingness to leave the United States within a set number of days (a maximum of 120 days) and by paying for their own way home to their native country, make no mistake about it, the individual MUST LEAVE the United States, and there is nothing voluntary about it.If a person fails to depart the United States under a grant of voluntary departure the order automatically converts into an order of removal, they are subject to being taken into custody, held without bond as a flight risk, and are then forcibly removed from the United States.  Moreover, if the person fails to depart the United States as required they are further barred from obtaining relief from removal should their circumstances change at some point in the future.In the vast majority of cases when an individual departs the United States under a grant of voluntary deportation they automatically trigger a ten-year bar.  The underlying order of removal also carries with it a ten year bar.  Either way the individual MUST LEAVE the United States, and may not return to the Country for ten years.  So in essence they must choose between a sharp stick in the eye, or a swift kick in the gut.Do not let the Obama administration spin their record of mass deportations.  Obama is deporting people in record numbers, and my inside sources have told me that a temporary unofficial moratorium on the apprehension of non-criminal aliens has been lifted by our President.  As the saying goes you ain't seen nuthin' yet.Is this the change you voted for?
  3. On what planet does it make sense to require an individual to file a Bar Complaint against a former lawyer who is no longer practicing law because they were disbarred?

    by , 03-06-2010 at 06:25 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    I just
    argued a case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that partially
    involved the issue of when it is necessary to file a bar complaint in
    conjunction with a motion to reopen due in part to the ineffective assistance of
    previous counsel.In
    immigration law an individual is protected by the right to counsel.  Part
    in parcel to that right is that if you hire a lawyer, that lawyer is supposed
    to be competent to handle your case.  If a lawyer commits fatal non
    strategic errors which result in an individual being ordered removed by an
    Immigration Judge the legal mechanism to correct the lawyer's error is a motion
    to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel.If an
    aggrieved individual claims that his or her former lawyer made a fatal error
    the law requires the individual to first file a bar complaint against their
    former lawyer, and provide the lawyer with notice of the grievance to afford
    the lawyer an opportunity to respond to the complaint.  Once this
    preliminary step is completed the motion may then be filed with either the Immigration Court
    that ordered removal, or alternatively with the Board of Immigration Appeals if
    the case proceeded that far.So far on
    paper that sounds like a logical and rational requirement.  But what about
    in the instance where an individual has been prejudiced by a lawyer who is no
    longer practicing law because he or she has been disbarred as a result of
    malfeasance.In this example I argued that it is wholly unnecessary, illogical, and futile to
    require an alien to file a bar complaint against an individual who has been
    disbarred and is no longer practicing law, and such requirement is an
    unnecessary burden to the complaining party and to the State.Attorney
    Grievance Committees are civil bodies that police the activities of lawyers
    under their jurisdiction.  The ultimate penalty that an Attorney Grievance
    Committee may impose on a practicing lawyer is disbarment, and as a result
    there is no penalty that may be imposed on an individual who is no longer a
    member of the bar.  As such filing a bar complaint against a disbarred
    attorney is futile.  Moreover, should an individual be practicing law
    without a license it would be a criminal matter under which a civil body has no
    authority to redress.  Although I have yet to get a decision on my
    argument, the Second Circuit verbally seemed to agree.The bar
    complaint requirement contributes to the filing of baseless and frivolous state
    bar complaints against good lawyers, and should be removed as a prerequisite to
    filing motions to reopen.  If anything the Immigration Court or Board of
    Immigration Appeals should be making the determination as to whether an
    individual has been harmed by prior counsel's actions or inaction, not an
    Attorney Grievance Committee who has little to no immigration law experience
    and is in no way capable of determining if an individual has been aggrieved
    under the standards set forth by Congress relating to U.S. immigration laws.
  4. Lawsuits Renew Questions on Immigrant Detention

    by , 03-05-2010 at 07:59 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Here is another must read piece of reporting from New York Times reporter Nina Bernstein: Lawsuits Renew Questions on Immigrant
  5. More bad reports from the Varick Street Detention Center

    by , 02-24-2010 at 06:42 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    What would we do without Nina Bernstein?  She has published another fantastic article on the announced closing of the Varick Federal Detention Facility in Greenwich Village.  Not surprisingly, there are more problems being reported relating to the medical neglect of immigrants being held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).The article points out that many of the detainees in Varick will be moved to New Jersey, presumably to the Elizabeth Immigration Gulag.  Not exactly a viable solution to an already out of control problem.The Times has compiled a list of jails and detention centers
    where ICE detains individuals who
    may be subject to removal from the United States. The interactive list includes
    the results of annual inspections of facilities where ICE: "holds, or has held, noncitizens the government wants to deport,
    including asylum-seekers, people suspected of being in the country
    illegally and legal immigrants convicted of a wide range of crimes or
    The list rates both the Varick facility and the Elizabeth, N.J. facility as being "Good", which is very telling as to the reliability of the inspections, because as repeatedly illustrated by the New York Times, and my reports on this Blog, both facilities are substandard at best.Bravo Nina for your tireless efforts to expose the injustices that are a hallmark of the immigration detention system! *EDIT*See the NYCLU report entitled: Voices from Varick: Detainee Grievances at New York City's Only
    Federal Immigration Detention Facility (2010)The NYCLU summarizes the report to include the following key findings:

    There were 210 grievances filed by 176 different detainees,
    representing 186 unique complaints regarding the conditions of
    confinement at Varick.
    Of the 210 grievances, 21 percent appear to have resulted in no
    Thirteen grievances went before the Detainee Grievance Committee
    In seven of the 13 grievances (54 percent) that went before the DGC,
    the aggrieved detainee rejected the proposed resolution of the
    complaint. In three cases, the aggrieved detainee concurred with the
    outcome. And in three others, there is no indication of whether
    resolution was accepted or rejected.
    In four of the seven DGC grievances (57 percent) where the detainee
    objected to the committee's findings, the detainee who filed the
    grievance was transferred out of the facility. Once a detainee is
    transferred or deported, Varick ceases to investigate his grievances.
    Seventy-one of the grievances complained of inadequate medical care
    (34 percent). Grievances involving a complaint of abusive treatment by
    staff were the second most common, consisting of 52 total grievances (25
    percent). The third most common type of grievance concerned diet and
    consisted of 27 grievances (13 percent).

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