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  1. Letters of the Week: November 20 - November 26

  2. Asylum-seeking children need alternative to dangerous border crossing. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    Asylum-seeking children need an alternative to the dangerous journey from Central America to the US

    The Department of State has stopped accepting applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee Program.

    President Barack Obama established this program to provideunaccompanied alien children (UAC) from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (the Northern Triangle countries) with ďa safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journeyĒ many of them were making to apply for asylum in the United States.

    A UNICEF Child Alert entitled, ďBroken Dreams,Ē describes the dangers of that journey.

    The children are vulnerable to human traffickers. Many of the girls reportedly end up being forced into prostitution. Many are victims of sexual violence. Estimates of the number of kidnappings vary from hundreds to thousands a year. And hundreds of migrants die each when they reach the harsh environment along the Mexico-U.S. border.ď

    It is heart-rending to think of these children Ė most of them teenagers, but some even younger Ė making the grueling and extremely dangerous journey in search of safety and a better life,Ē said UNICEFís Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth.


    Published originally on The Hill.

    About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

    Updated 11-21-2017 at 12:08 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs


    by , 11-20-2017 at 11:55 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    November 20, 2017 Ė A federal court on Friday night ordered the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, New York to stop detaining asylum-seekers without a fair opportunity for release on parole or bond while awaiting asylum hearings. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center originally filed suit in July over the practice at the stateís largest immigration detention facility.

    People who arrive at the nationís borders seeking asylum are entitled to be considered for release on parole while awaiting their asylum hearings. However, federal immigration officials at Batavia effectively stopped granting parole in late January after the election of President Trump, leaving dozens of people who fled violence and persecution to languish in jail. As one Batavia official told a detainee, asylum-seekers had a ďone in a millionĒ chance of getting parole after Trump became president.

    ďPeople who came to the U.S. border seeking only refuge will no longer suffer indefinite confinement in New York's largest immigration detention facility,Ē said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. ďAsylum-seekers deserve, and will now get, the chance to be with loved ones while awaiting their asylum hearings. This win is a strong rebuke to the Trump administrationís campaign against immigrants.Ē

    The district court ordered the government ďimmediatelyĒ to redo the parole process for asylum-seekers held at Batavia. Under the order, asylum-seekers will be notified of the availability of parole in a language they understand, be given a parole interview with an immigration officer, be provided an explanation for their parole decision and be informed they can seek reconsideration if parole is initially denied. Asylum-seekers who have already had their parole denied will have the opportunity for their parole requests to be readjudicated. The injunction also ordered bond hearings for those detained at Batavia for six months or more.

    "We are thrilled that the court recognized that the asylum-seekers detained at Batavia deserve a fair chance at freedom,Ē said Mariko Hirose, litigation director at IRAP. ďThese are people who have had to flee horrific conditions at home and this ruling allows them a chance at reuniting with family and friends here while their immigration cases continue."
    Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford granted Fridayís preliminary injunction in recognition of the severe physical and psychological harms of prolonged detention. In particular, incarceration prevents many asylum-seekers from adequately preparing for their asylum hearings ¨ proceedings that could determine whether they must return to their countries of origin, where they may face threats to their lives.

    "We applaud Judge Wolford's recognition that ICE must comply with its own policies and procedures,Ē said NYCLU Staff Attorney and lead counsel Aadhithi Padmanabhan. ďWhat makes ICE's conduct at Batavia such a travesty is that the agency was not following its own internal guidelines, all while government lawyers in D.C. recently told the Supreme Court that these procedures are followed to a T."

    "I fled persecution in Somalia and came to America because people all around the world think of this country as a beacon of hope,Ē said named petitioner, Hanad Abdi. ďBut during the ten months I was imprisoned at Batavia, not knowing why I was jailed or how I could get out, I felt hopeless. Because of the judge's decision, others will not have to suffer like I did. The government will have to follow the law just like everyone else."

    ďI fled Cuba where I was a political prisoner and came to America seeking freedom,Ē said named petitioner Johan Barrios Ramos. ďI was shocked when I got here and asked for asylum but was instead put in jail. I am so happy that the court said there are limits on ICEís authority to detain people like me."

    "My health got worse and worse in ICE custody while I waited for my hearing,Ē said class member Saikou Touray of Gambia. ďI felt increasingly desperate because no one ever explained to me why I was denied parole or what I could do to get out of detention. Now I can be with my family and get the medical treatment I needed all along."

    In addition to Dunn, Hirose and Padmanabhan, counsel on the case include NYCLU staff attorneys Robert Hodgson and Paige Austin, NYCLU legal fellow Scout Katovich, paralegal Andrea Barrientos and Data & Policy Analyst Michelle Shames; IRAP staff on the case include Staff Attorney Deepa Alagesan, paralegal Casey Smith, and volunteer Sofia Calatrava.

    Updated 11-20-2017 at 12:23 PM by MKolken

  4. Statistics of Asylum Denial Rates by Immigration Judge Updated to 2017

    by , 11-20-2017 at 08:59 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Via Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC):

    The asylum denial rates are calculated, after further validity checking by TRAC, from the internal files TRAC obtains directly from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). These files record the outcome of each case decided by the Immigration Court. The bibliographic information was collected from a variety of official sources including press releases, testimony, other biographical information released by the Department of Justice, and responses received to specific TRAC inquiries.

    Click here to view the records.
  5. A Distorted Argument Based on Fear Against Family Immigration and the Visa Lottery by the Head of a FAIR Affiliated Group, Part !. Roger Algase

    Dale Wilcox, the executive director and general counsel of the Immigration Law Reform Law Institute, has published an article in The Hill laying out arguments against both the diversity visa lottery and family immigration (which he calls by the pejorative term "chain migration"). The article is entitled:"The visa lottery and chain migration both give Americans the shaft."

    This article is worth examining in some detail, because it is a classic example of how the arguments against family immigration and the visa lottery, both of which benefit immigrants primarily from non-white parts of the world, are based on distortion and fear, rather than objective facts.

    While there is no evidence that Mr. Wilcox is himself a white nationalist, and I do not intend to make any such suggestion, the organization he heads, according to a note at the end of his article, is listed by as a supporting organization for FAIR, (Federation for Immigration Reform)

    According to an investigative report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), FAIR was founded by an avowed white supremacist, John Tanton, and several of its officers or staff members have allegedly been connected with white supremacist advocates or groups over the years.

    With the above as background, let us look at the arguments which Mr. Wilcox advances against family immigration and the diversity visa lottery.

    First, Wilcox tries to tie both "chain migration" and the visa lottery to the New York City terror attack, even though tens of millions millions of peaceful, law abiding immigrants have come to the US through family visas and contributed to American society over the past 50 years, and the same can be said for more than a million immigrants, mostly from Asia, Africa and Latin America, who have come to the US through the DV lottery since it was established in 1994 (as the successor to the AA-1 lottery which was mainly limited to white Europeans and which FAIR never complained about, to the best of my knowledge).

    There is no evidence whatsoever that the DV lottery is a vehicle for terrorists or that it is used by terrorists. The NYC suspect had no terror connections when he entered with a DV visa as a child or young person, and he was evidently radicalized in the US, not overseas.

    Wilcox claims that the suspect brought 23 relatives with him to the United States. Aside from the fact that this is not the way the DV lottery works, since beneficiaries can only bring their spouses or children, Wilcox does not cite any alleged wrongdoing by any of the "23 relatives" that the NYC suspect allegedly brought with him.

    No one assumes that the relatives of the Las Vegas shooting massacre suspect are all mass murderers themselves, or that all white American-born males have violent criminal propensities just because the mass killer suspect did. Why should similar assumptions be made about DV or family visa immigrants?

    And yet Wilcox says that the charge that DV and family immigration are "irresponsible gateways for dangerous individuals to enter the country and harm Americans" is "legitimate"

    It is not legitimate.

    Wilcox, then, seizing on what he does not show to be anything more than isolated instances, claims that both the green card lottery and family immigration in general are subject to fraud and abuse. This is a time-worn argument against immigration in general that immigration opponents have been using for the past half century, ever since the 1965 reform that abolished the Europe-only immigration quotas of the 1924 "national origins" law was enacted.

    I will look at this argument in more detail in a forthcoming comment.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 11-20-2017 at 08:39 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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