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  1. The Dark Side of America: This is the Secretive, Quasi-Totalitarian Face of Deportation Under Donald Trump. Roger Algase

    The Guardian reports on June 7 about a secretive detention facility originally set up under the Obama administration, and which now, under Trump, has its own immigration court staffed with hastily flown in, short term judges from elsewhere.

    The facility is located in rural Louisiana, surrounded by a forest 150 miles from the nearest city, and almost 100 miles from the nearest town, Oakdate. In this facility, unauthorized immigrants, many of whom have been picked up for minor traffic offenses, and who are detained in horrible conditions with minimal due process and, in most cases, without access to counsel, are rushed out of the country as quickly as possible.

    This is not to say that immigration detention abuses were not rife under the Obama administration. Certainly they were. But The Guardian's report indicates that, under the new administration, these abuses are systematic and are approaching totalitarian, concentration camp - like levels totally at odds with America's standing as a nation supposedly based on human rights and the dignity of the individual.

    The following are some extracts from The Guardian's story on the LaSalle detention facility. The full article is available at"

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...tation-lasalle

    The article begins:

    "This is the LaSalle detention facility that, since March of this year, has been holding removal proceedings for hundreds of detained migrants in courtrooms adjoining a private detention center which incarcerates more than 1,100 men and women and has the highest number of prisoner deaths America over the past two years."

    The Guardian
    then describes the situation of one of the detainees before one of the constantly rotating immigration judges who are flown in, often from far a way locations, to preside in inadequate, makeshift courtrooms for a brief time that does not allow them to become familiar with any of the assembly line of cases in front of them:

    "Marcos Ramirez Jr., sat alone before the judge, listening through a headset as the translator interpreted proceedings in Spanish. The Court heard how the Guatemalan national had lived in America for four decades after crossing the border into the US in 1980. He had been with his wife in Alabama for 15 years and had no criminal history.

    In April, Ramirez was apprehended by law enforcement for allegedly driving recklessly and without a license. The charges were enough to see him transferred to immigration detention. At a hearing earlier in May, he had been offered a bond of $7,000 but told the court on Wednesday he had no ability to pay it.

    'It has been two weeks since I heard from my wife,' he said., he said...'She has stage three cancer.' Ramirez had no idea if she was now in hospital or, by extension, whether she was dead or alive."

    What about even the most elementary due process of law at LaSalle?

    The Guardian continues:

    "According to data gathered by the Southern Poverty Law Center, only 6% of detained immigrants brought to the Oakdale court between 2007 and 2012 (which during thi period heard cases from LaSalle) had attorneys. This marked the joint lowest rate of immigration at any immigration court in the US...

    Scott [a lawyer assisting detainees at the facility] who practices in the city of Baton Rouge more than 150 miles away, said in many cases under the new setup, detainees have been brought into proceedings within two days of their arrival at the detention center, making it almost impossible to receive advice from an attorney."

    So much for any notion of "justice" at LaSalle. But what are the physical conditions like for the detainees? The Guardian reports:

    "The LaSalle has long been associated with poor standards of care and detainees regularly report substandard medical attention to researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Among the conditions in the same article are 100 people being forced to share just three toilets, and, according to one detainee, everyone getting sick from the "disgusting" food.

    According to the same report, Jeremy Jong, another immigration lawyer working at LaSalle said:

    "Time and time again, you hear from your clients that conditions there are horrible and brutal...Detention drives a lot of people crazy, to the point where they would rather go [back] to a place that they know is dangerous, where they have no family, where they might be tortured."

    No, the above is not a description of Dachau, Buchenwald, or present-day North Korea. This is the dark side of America in the "Era of Donald Trump."

    Today, these abuses and denials of basic human rights are directed primarily at immigrants. But, if these abuses are tolerated with regard to any class of people within our borders, no matter how unpopular they may be with certain politicians and members of the public, how long will it be before they become the new normal directed against American citizens as well?

    _________________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants receive work visas and green cards.

    Roger's main areas of practice include H-1B and O-1 work visas; and green cards through labor certification (PERM, including EB-2 and EB-3 ), extraordinary ability (EB-1) and through opposite sex or same sex marriage.

    Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com




    Updated 06-17-2017 at 06:06 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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