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  1. ICE arrests 33 with history of human rights violation across the US during Operation No Safe Haven IV

    by , 04-19-2018 at 05:50 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    For Immediate Release
    For media inquiries about ICE activities, operations, or policies, contact the ICE Office of Public Affairs at (202) 732-4242.

    ICE arrests 33 with history of human rights violation across the US during Operation No Safe Haven IV


    • Photos and b-roll available here


    WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 33 fugitives sought for their roles in known or suspected human rights violations during a nationwide operation this week.

    During the three-day operation that concluded Wednesday, the ICE National Fugitive Operations Program in coordination with the ICE Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and the ICE National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center (NCATC), arrested these fugitives via the ICE field offices of Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; New York City; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Seattle; San Francisco; and St. Paul, Minnesota.

    The foreign nationals arrested during this operation all have outstanding removal orders and are subject to repatriation to their countries of origin. Of the 33 known or suspected human rights violators arrested during Operation No Safe Haven IV, eight individuals are also criminal aliens with convictions for crimes including, but not limited to battery, weapons offenses, driving while intoxicated, and resisting arrest. This operation surpassed the number of known or suspected human rights violators arrested during the first nationwide No Safe Haven operation, which took place in September 2014.

    “This operation continues ICE’s work to ensure that the United States does not serve as a safe haven for those who commit human rights violations in their countries of origin,” said Thomas D. Homan, Deputy Director of ICE. “We will continue to pursue these individuals as priorities for enforcement— using our agency’s unique authorities to investigate criminal activity and to enforce immigration laws.”

    Those arrested across the country included:


    • Four Chinese individuals—some of whom were hospital employees—who assisted in or directly conducted forced abortions and sterilizations upon victims in China;
    • A former intelligence officer who surveilled and arrested dozens of targets subsequently tortured in Central America;
    • A soldier in Central America who guided the military to a specific village for the purpose of killing its residents;
    • A ranking intelligence officer from the Middle East whose surveillance information led to the arrest, torture, and murder of those his unit targeted;
    • A group leader in East Africa who used violence to force victims into Female Genital Mutilation.


    ICE is committed to rooting out known or suspected human rights violators who seek a safe haven in the United States. ICE's Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. These individuals may use fraudulent identities or falsified records to enter the country and attempt to blend into communities in the United States.
    Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also email HRV.ICE@ice.dhs.gov or complete ICE’s online tip form.

    The HRVWCC was established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers. The HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

    Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 395 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 835 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 112 such individuals from the United States.

    Currently, HSI has more than 130 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 74,000 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped over 234 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.

    The NCATC provided critical investigative support for this operation, including criminal and intelligence analysis from a variety of sources. The NCATC provides comprehensive analytical support to aid the at-large enforcement efforts of all ICE components.

    ICE credits the success of this operation to the combined efforts of the U.S. National Central Bureau-Interpol Washington, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Updated 04-19-2018 at 05:55 PM by MKolken

  2. ABA President Calls for Restructuring of Immigration Courts to Increase Independence

    by , 04-19-2018 at 09:07 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)


    Via The ABA Journal:

    ABA President Hilarie Bass called for an overhaul of the immigration court system in testimony Wednesday afternoon before a Senate subcommittee.

    ‘”We believe fundamental change is needed,” Bass said in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration.

    Bass outlined the ABA proposal in a prepared statement submitted to the subcommittee. In the statement, Bass said immigration courts should be restructured as independent Article I courts, and immigrants should be given increased access to counsel and legal information. An ABA press release has a summary.


    Click here for more.
  3. How does ICE Calculate Fines in an I-9 Inspection

    By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law


    As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts more and more I-9 inspections (the ICE director stated they would be increasing by 400 to 500%), employers need to know how ICE calculates any fines assessed against employers. AILA’s I-9 Verification Committee, through Rick Gump and Eileen Momblanco, recently drafted a fine Practice Pointer, which I encourage AILA members to read. For non-AILA members, this article will discuss the same concepts.

    It begins for an employer when ICE serves a Notice of Inspection (NOI)/subpoena to review the employer’s I-9 forms as well as many other HR-related records. The NOI gives the employer three business days to provide the subpoenaed documents. The ability to receive an extension of time to provide the I-9 forms and other documents seems to vary with what ICE office you are dealing. I have been successful in receiving extensions in almost all NOIs, but I never ask for more than one week and usually only five days. After the ICE auditor reviews the I-9 forms, the employer will receive a series of notices – Notice of Suspect Documents and Notice of Technical and Procedural Failures are the most common notices.

    If substantive paperwork, hiring, or continuing to employ (H/CTE) violations are found, ICE normally issues a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF), although if the errors are less than 10%, ICE usually only issues a Warning Notice without a penalty. The fine/penalty amount in the NIF is determined by ICE attorneys and special agents in charge. Fines can be challenged by requesting review by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) within 30 days of receipt of the NIF. If litigated, the ALJ can adjust the fine amount.

    In November 2008, ICE issued a Memorandum, “Revised Administrative Fine Policy Procedures”, which contained a set of matrixes and required ICE to follow specific procedures for calculating paperwork and H/CTE fines. The Policy Procedures state the following to determine the level of fine within each matrix:


    • Use the number of violations of each type (paperwork or H/CTE) as the numerator and the number of total employees as the denominator; and
    • The percentage calculated above would be used to determine the percentage box in the fine matrix to start, and then fines could be adjusted up or down five percent for each of the five factors - business size, good faith, seriousness, employment of unauthorized aliens, and prior history with ICE/INS.


    However, ALJs can consider any factors it deems necessary to calculate an appropriate fine based on the case at hand. Cases with both paperwork and H/CTE violations sometimes produce higher fines for a greater number of paperwork violations compared to fines for a fewer number of H/CTE violations.

    To increase the level of penalties, ICE has begun to create a higher level of fine on each matrix by adding the number of paperwork violations to the number of H/CTE violations as the numerator, which in some cases dramatically increases the level of the fine in each matrix. Here are two examples:


    • If you have 100 employees with 10 substantive paperwork violations and 20 H/CTE violations, you add 10 + 20 = 30 to calculate 30% violations for each matrix. This would lead to a fine of $60,270 using the 2017 matrixes.
    • If you have 100 employees with 10 substantive paperwork violations and 20 H/CTE violations, you add 10/100 = 10% for paperwork and 20/100 = 20% for H/CTE violations for each matrix. This would lead to a fine of $40,560 without any aggravating or mitigating factors applied.


    In other words, instead of taking the number of paperwork violations and dividing them by the
    number of employees, and then calculating the H/CTE violations the same way, ICE adds the
    number of paperwork violations to the number of H/CTE violations when calculating the
    violation percentage from each matrix. This is resulting in a higher fine based on the matrix
    percentage of violations for each of the paperwork and H/CTE violations.

    ICE has defended this calculation method by pointing to language in the 2008 fine policy procedures, “The recommended base fine amount is determined by dividing the number of ‘knowing hire,’ ‘continuing to employ,’ and substantive verification violations by the total number of Forms I-9 presented for inspection to determine a violation percentage.”

    However, as the Practice Pointer states:
    On the next two pages, ICE instructs agents to “divide the number of ‘knowing hire’ and ‘continuing to employ’ violations by the number of employees for whom a Form I-9 should have been prepared to obtain a violation percentage” and to “divide the number of substantive violations by the number of employees for whom a Form I-9 should have been prepared to obtain a violation percentage.” Each instruction is paired with a separate fine matrix and no other ICE issued documentation instructs agents or attorneys to add the violations together. ICE’s I-9 inspection webpage also makes no mention of the double-dipping method of fine calculation.

    In evaluating NIFs, attorneys for employers should ask these questions:
    1. Are the fines calculated within the confines of the statute as updated by DOJ?
    2. What baseline and method did ICE use to calculate the fine in the instant case?
    3. What factors were used to aggravate or reduce the level of the fine?
    4. Were the factors appropriately used?
    5. Did ICE apply the 5% enhancement for employment of unauthorized aliens to only those violations as opposed to across the board?
    6. Did the NIF miscalculate the fines by double-counting violations? And
    7. Did ICE make other errors in its calculations?

    After evaluating these issues and trying to negotiate a settlement, one must assess the propriety of settling with ICE versus challenging the fine with an OCAHO ALJ.

    If you want to know more information on I-9 penalties/fines, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.
  4. Detained Immigrants Sue For Profit Detention Center Over Forced Labor

    by , 04-18-2018 at 09:18 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Immigrants detained at the Stewart Detention Center located in Lumpkin,Georgia have filed a class action lawsuit against a private for profit prison corporation that has contracted with the U.S. government to operate the facility. The lawsuit alleged that immigrants detained for civil immigration law violations are subject to compulsory labor. The corporation is called, CoreCivic Inc., and is a billion-dollar private prison corporation.

    The complaint alleges that CoreCivic:

    ...maintains a deprivation scheme intended to force detained immigrants to work for nearly free. CoreCivic deprives detained immigrants of basic necessities like food, toothpaste, toilet paper,and soap, and contact with loved ones, so that they have to work in order to purchase those items and costly phone cards at CoreCivic’s commissary. CoreCivic then threatens detained immigrants who refuse to work with serious harm, including the deprivation of privacy and safety in open living quarters, referral for criminal prosecution, and, ultimately, the sensory and psychological deprivation of their humanity resulting from solitary confinement. Under these circumstances, no labor is voluntary – it is forced.

    CoreCivic operates a so-called Voluntary Work Program (“Work Program”) at Stewart. Through this program, CoreCivic uses detained immigrants to perform work that directly contributes to institutional operations. CoreCivic pays detained immigrants who participate in the Work Program generally between $1 and $4 per day. CoreCivic occasionally increases the wage rate it pays to kitchen workers to up to $8 per day when it needs workers to work twelve hours or more per day.Under no circumstances does CoreCivic pay the detained immigrants the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, or the Service Contract Act wages governing the jobs they perform.

    In fact, the detained immigrants’ wages generally are well under $1 per hour.32. The Work Program allows CoreCivic to avoid recruiting from the local labor market, paying minimum wages, providing detained immigrants in the Work Program with any benefits, paying the costs of potential unionization, and paying federal and state payroll taxes, like Medicare, thereby reducing operational costs and increasing its own profits. Further, it reduces the likelihood of former employees acting as whistleblowers regarding the deplorable and unsafe conditions inside Stewart.


    Click here
    to read the complaint.

    Also see this article that reveals the private prison industry's connection to Democratic lawmakers.

    Updated 04-18-2018 at 09:25 AM by MKolken

  5. The Prevalence of Evidence

    If the asylum seeker's affidavit is the heart of her application, evidence might be considered the lungs: It provides the oxygen that allows the heart to function. Or maybe anatomical analogies are just weird. The point is, evidence in support of an asylum application is crucial to the application's success. But what is evidence? And what happens if you can't get it?


    An asylum attorney prepares to file evidence in his case.


    Let's start with a bit about the law. The REAL ID Act of 2005 provides--
    The testimony of the applicant may be sufficient to sustain the applicant's burden without corroboration, but only if the applicant satisfies the trier of fact that the applicant's testimony is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to demonstrate that the applicant is a refugee. In determining whether the applicant has met the applicant's burden, the trier of fact may weigh the credible testimony along with other evidence of record. Where the trier of fact determines that the applicant should provide evidence that corroborates otherwise credible testimony, such evidence must be provided unless the applicant does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain the evidence.

    See
    INA 208(b)(1)(B) (emphasis added). In other words, if you claim that something happened (you were unlawfully detained), you are required to provide evidence about it (a police document), and if you are unable to provide such evidence, you should be prepared to explain why you could not get the evidence (maybe the police in your country don't issue receipts for illegally arresting people).

    What this means is that you should try to get evidence supporting your case. Different lawyers may have different views on this, but I think you should get evidence for every claim you make in your affidavit and I-589. That includes evidence not directly related to the asylum claims, such as evidence of education, employment, awards and certificates, membership in organizations and religious institutions, travel to third countries, documents used to obtain your U.S. visa(s), birth certificates for you and your immediate family members, all passports for you and your immediate family members, marriage and divorce documents, national ID cards, military service records, arrest records, and general medical records. In other words, evidence about who you are and what you've been doing with your life.

    Of course, you also need to get evidence related to your asylum claim. So if you were arrested, harmed or threatened, get evidence about what happened: Police and court documents, medical records and photos of injuries/scars, copies of any threats. If your case involves political activity in your country or elsewhere (including the U.S.), get party membership cards, receipts, letters from the party, and photos at political events. If it is a religious case, get evidence of your religion: Letters from church leaders and/or members, photos at religious events, certificates, membership documents, and government IDs, which sometimes list religion. If the case is based on nationality, ethnicity or race, get evidence that you belong to the group in question, such as identity documents.

    For people claiming asylum based on membership in a particular social group ("PSG"), the evidence needed depends on the group. For LGBT cases, get evidence of sexual orientation, such as membership in gay rights groups and evidence of past relationships. If your PSG involves family members, get evidence of familial relationships--birth and marriage certificates, photos, and other family documents, including evidence that other members of your family were harmed or threatened. If you have a domestic violence case, get evidence of the relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificates of children, photos together, other documentation that you were in a relationship) and of the harm.

    If there are newspaper or magazine articles, country reports or human rights reports--or even blog posts or Facebook posts--that support your asylum claim, include those. If you are using a newspaper or magazine, make sure to include the cover page of the newspaper, and the entire article. If you are using an on-line resource, make sure to include the website address.

    You should also get letters from family members, friends, and colleagues who can attest to your problems (I've posted about how to write a good letter here). In many cases, it is impossible to get direct evidence of harm, and so letters from people attesting to your problems is all that you can get. While letters from family members and friends are not as valuable as more direct evidence, they are still valuable, and we always include such letters if we can get them.

    Some people have scars or other evidence of physical harm (including FGM). In such cases, you should get a forensic medical report to help bolster your claim about how you received the scar (in other words, that the scar was caused by torture as opposed to a car accident or disease). Of course, the doctors who write such reports do not know for sure how you received a particular scar. But they can state that the scar is consistent with your explanation of how it was received. If you cannot afford a forensic exam (or find a doctor to do the exam pro bono), at least take photos of the scars and include them with your evidence. Normally, we have our clients take a close-up of the scar and also a photo from further away, so we can see the person's face (so we know the scar is on that particular person's body).

    We also sometimes submit other types of expert reports. The most common are psychological reports (that indicate PTSD, for example). In my opinion, the most effective reports are the ones created in the course of treatment. The less effective reports are created after one or two meetings with the asylum seeker, and were clearly created for purposes of the asylum case. Sometimes, we also use expert reports related to country conditions, though these days, we can usually find what we need on the internet.

    If any of your close family members applied for or received asylum, refugee or other humanitarian status (including SIV status) in the U.S. or abroad, try to get evidence of that status. In general, it is very helpful to show that other family members, who are often similarly situated, have been persecuted or have already received asylum. Indeed, we recently did a case in Texas where our client's close family members all had SIV status (meaning that the U.S. government determined those family members faced a threat in the home country due to their cooperation with the U.S.). This evidence alone was enough to convince the Judge to grant asylum to our client.

    You should also submit country condition information. Some lawyers submits lots of country condition information. I am not one of those lawyers. I think that redundant reports are counterproductive and distracting. It is standard procedure to submit the U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights Practices (or at least an excerpt of the relevant portions). Also, if applicable, we submit the State Department Report on International Religious Freedom. If those reports are not sufficient, we submits reports from other credible organizations, like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International. There are also lots of issue-specific reports from groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists, Doctors Without Borders, and International Christian Concern, to name a few. If there are news articles from credible sources, we submit those too (if they are relevant and not redundant). Finally, if there are specific articles or reports from less-reliable sources that speak directly to the issues in the case, we submit those as well.

    Of course, any documents not in English need to be properly translated.

    Finally, it is important to review all the evidence to ensure that it is consistent with your statement and with the other evidence submitted (for example, if your statement says that you lived in a red house, your witness letters should not say that you lived in a blue house). Inconsistent evidence can lead to a determination that you are not credible, so be careful about this.

    The evidence for each applicant is case specific. If you have an attorney, one of the attorney's jobs is to evaluate your case and determine what evidence is helpful. If you do not have an attorney, you should still do your best to obtain as much evidence as possible. This will help increase your chances for a successful outcome.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
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