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US Officials Disregard Border Children's Legal and Human Rights. By Roger Algase

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

In a New York Times article, As U.S. Speeds the Path to Deportation, Distress Fills New Family Detention Centers (August 5), Julia Preston describes the gross violations of due process and fundamental human rights of the border children and their families which the Obama administration is engaging in as part of its efforts to show how tough it is on illegal immigration. Preston reports that children from Central America who arrive at the border with or without their families are being held at remote locations which are not set up to hold young children for a long time and are difficult for their lawyers to reach.

Even when lawyers are able to make it to the detention centers, they are not always allowed inside and are not able to file basic court documents. Preston describes the conditions at one such center, located in Artesia, New Mexico:

"Five immigration officers based in the center are interviewing migrants to assess their fears of persecution, and in a makeshift courtroom, immigration judges far away are hearing asylum cases via video teleconferencing. But lawyers who have made the long drive to Artesia, which is 240 miles from Albuquerque and 200 miles from El Paso, have discovered that there is no protocol to let them in and no means to file even basic court documents.


'They just set up this big deportation mill in the middle of nowhere', said Olsi Vrapi, an immigration lawyer based in Albuquerque. One woman he was assisting had her asylum claim swiftly denied by a judge while an associate from his office was standing outside the center, waiting to be let in."

Preston continues:

"Families in Artesia face an uphill fight to avoid deportation. Lisa Brodyaga, a lawyer based in the Rio Grande Valley, is representing a Salvadorean woman, detained with her 11-year old daughter, whose police officer husband has refused to join forces with criminal gangs. The woman, whom Ms. Brodyaga identified only as O, to protect her privacy, had given a detailed account of her flight from gang members who camped out on the roof of her house and harassed her family in the food store, threatening to assault 'that which you hold most dear' - her daughter.

With space tight at the center, asylum officers interviewed the woman and her daughter together, Ms. Brodyaga said, and then ruled their fears were not credible."


Preston concludes:

"The few migrants who have qualified for release have been told they would not be allowed to post bond. According to court documents, government prosecutors argued that releasing any detainees from Artesia 'further encourages mass migration' and would 'create significant adverse national security consequences.'

Laura Lichter, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association who helped mobilize a corps of lawyers to head to Artesia, said immigration officials appeared to be going through the motions of legal review. 'The perception', she said, 'is that people come there to get deported.'"

The callous indifference to the best interests of these vulnerable children, which the TVPRA makes paramount, as well as the travesty of justice and basic human rights which Preston describes in this article in the finest tradition of investigative reporting, shame America at its very foundations.

I wish to thank my distinguished colleague, Nolan Rappaport, for bringing this article to my attention. I apologize for not currently having access to the link, but for readers who do not subscribe to the New York Times, the article can be easily located through Google.

_____________________________
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing employment-based and family-based immigration law for more than 30 years.

His practice is concentrated in H-1B and O-1 work visas, J-1 training visas, and green cards through labor certification and extraordinary ability, as well as through opposite or same sex marriage. His concern with the legal rights of minor children began with the publication of his article: The Right to a Fair Trial in Juvenile Court , 3 Journal of Family Law 292 (1963).

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Updated 08-06-2014 at 09:32 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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Comments

  1. MKolken's Avatar
    Is there any question that the Obama administration is the most anti-immigrant in the history of this country?
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    So far, at least in my lifetime, which goes back to the not exactly immigrant-friendly Franklin D. Roosevelt era.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-06-2014 at 10:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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