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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Child Refugees Enduring Poor Conditions and Lack of Due Process

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.

From Democracy Now!:

The Obama administration has opened two new family detention centers to hold hundreds of women and children from Central America who fled to the United States reportedly to escape violence in their home countries. While most of the 63,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the border since January have now been placed with family members as their cases are processed, those caught with their mothers are being held without bond. A 600-bed detention center run by GEO Group in Karnes City, Texas, opened at the beginning of August and is reportedly already full. Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz visits a second detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, to report on the poor conditions and lack of due process for migrants, and the lawyers mobilizing to assist them. "Children were not eating. Children were getting very sick," says attorney Megan Jordi. "Every child I saw looked incredibly emaciated and had a hollow look in their eyes."

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Comments

  1. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I don't like the way the children are being treated either, but I think it is a mistake to put the blame entirely on President Obama. He asked for $3.7 billions to cover the additional costs of caring for these children and providing them with their rights under the Trafficking Act. He didn't get any money at all to cover this crisis. What is he supposed to do? Proper care, due process, etc., cost money he doesn't have. I guess we are used to our government spending without apparent limits, but it doesn't really work that way. There are limits, and this situation illustrates that reality. If you are ready to consider another way of handling this situation, see my article, ?Is There A Better Way? - Meeting the Challenge of Unaccompanied Alien Children at the Southwest Border??
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/insidenews/archive/2014/07/10/nolan-rappaport-is-there-a-better-way.aspx
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Not surprisingly, my take on this is somewhat different from Nolan's. Nolan looks at the politics of this situation and concludes that a) the children should expect to have a hard time in detention because no money will be available to fund either their basic needs or their due process rights and, b) they are likely to lose their asylum hearings in court anyway.

    Therefore, he suggests a solution that he believes would be more politically feasible, namely having them screened for refugee status outside the US by the UN, and, ultimately, at least some of the children readmitted to the US as refugees.

    Even if this proposal were practical politically in the US, which would have to contribute at least some funding to it, as well as the countries where the children would be screened, every one of which would certainly have its own political problems to deal with, where is the political support for re-admitting the children to the US going to come from?

    Nolan ooints out that the president can readmit them on his own, without Congressional authorization. But would he (or she) do so, if, after the required consultations with Congressional leaders, including inevitably ones from the Tea Party, he/she thinks that the political winds are against it?

    Nolan is a skilled and experienced political negotiator. But politics is not what the border children's issue is primarily about. This issue is about justice, about humanity, and ultimately, equality before the law regardless of race or national origin.

    It is, ultimately, about overcoming bigotry and prejudice, about taking on the Tea Party, just as America took on the race baiters and segregationis a half century ago.

    It is about America's ideals. I came of age during the civil rights era. If Martin Luther King had been interested only in the immediate political considerations, he would never have gone to jail for his belief in racial justice.

    Rosa Parks would have given up her seat on the bus.

    Instead of focusing on the "Art of the Possible", as Americans, we need to do what is right for these children. That means both taking care of their human needs and affording them their due process rights.

    Nolan says there is no money for this basic humanity and justice. But if the will exists among America's leaders, beginning with the president, the money will surely follow.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 08-19-2014 at 01:26 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    President Obama has elected to make these children a deportation priority. That decision is squarely on his shoulders.

    He has more humanitarian options that he has declined to exercise. See: 8 U.S. Code § 1157, INA § 207(b)[President maintains express power to grant refugee status to groups of individuals in the presence of “grave humanitarian concerns,” or if it is otherwise in the national interest.]
  4. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MKolken
    President Obama has elected to make these children a deportation priority. That decision is squarely on his shoulders.

    He has more humanitarian options that he has declined to exercise. See: 8 U.S. Code ? 1157, INA ? 207(b)[President maintains express power to grant refugee status to groups of individuals in the presence of ?grave humanitarian concerns,? or if it is otherwise in the national interest.]
    Matt, Section 207(b) permits the President to increase the annual refugee number in the event of a humanitarian crisis, but he can't use the additional numbers to grant refugee status to aliens who are already in the United States. If they are here, they have to apply for asylum. This is why I have proposed removing them from the United States to a safe location where they can be screened by UNHCR for refugee status. Once they have refugee status, President Obama can bring them back to the US as refugees using the additional numbers he generates pursuant to section 207(b). Notwithstanding Roger's fears to the contrary, the House republicans can't stop him from doing this. The INA just requires him to consult with congress. He doesn't have to follow their advice. Also, UNHCR wouldn't just send them back here when they have refugee status. They would be divided up among all of the countries that participate in the refugee program. I think we take the most and Canada is in second place, but countries all over the world accept refugees. If your interest is in helping the children, this is the way to do it. The TRAC figures you referred to earlier aren't likely to apply to the present situation. We have more than 57,000 kids already, and more are coming. And President Obama is moving them out as quickly as possible to discourage parents in Central America from sending more. Given these circumstances, the percentage of kids being represented by lawyers will go way down.

    If you want to know more about this possibility, read my article, ?Is There A Better Way? - Meeting the Challenge of Unaccompanied Alien Children at the Southwest Border??
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/insidenews/archive/2014/07/10/nolan-rappaport-is-there-a-better-way.aspx
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