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US Detention of Asylum Seekers_What's the Problem_What's the Solution 2[1]

US Detention of Asylum Seekers_What's the Problem_What's the Solution 2[1]

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Published by Bill Frelick
Bill Frelick, asylum, asylum-seekers, detention, ICE, BIA, detention, USCIRF, AIUSA
Bill Frelick, asylum, asylum-seekers, detention, ICE, BIA, detention, USCIRF, AIUSA

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Published by: Bill Frelick on Jan 23, 2012
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BENDER'S
IMMIGRATION
~BULLETIN
1
-,
\.
,..,.
"It'salw'!)s
beenaboutpeople,"
Vol.10,No.7·April1,2005
DanielM.Kowalski,Editor-in-ChiefLoryDianaRosenberg,FeaturedColumnist
InsideThisIssueDrivers'LicensesandUndocumentedImmigrants:TheFutureofCivilRightsLaw?
KEVINR.JOHNSON
543
U.S.DetentionofAsylumSeekers:What'stheProblem?WhatstheSolution
BILLFRELICK............................
564IMMIGRATIONNEWS541,576
AFund,AClinic,andAProjectBitsandPieces(DHS,USCIS,UNCHR)
CASEDIGESTS(detailsonnextpage)576
FederalDecisionsBIADecisionAAODecisionsBALCADecisionsImmigrationCourt
GOVERNMENTDOCUMENTS
(detailsonnextpage).
583
FederalRegister(ProposedRules)DepartmentofLaborDocumentsUSCISMemorandum
APPENDICES585APRILVISANUMBERS.....................650
AFund,AClinic,andAProject
Threenewsourcesofmoneyandtalentforimmigrantadvocacyarenowavailableintheformofalitigationfund,anewlawclinic,andatechnicalassistanceproject.TheImmigrantLitigationFundhasbeencreatedbytheCenterforHumanRightsandConstitutionalLaw,amajorplayerinclassactioncasesandimpactlitigationonbehalfofimmigrantsandrefugees.TheCenterhaswonthelargestattorney'sfeesawardseverissuedbythefederalgovernmentandwilluseaportionofthefeestoestablishtheFund.TheFundwillprovidefinancialsupportforthecostsassociatedwithchallengesandappealsonbehalfofimmigrantsandrefugees.TheImmigrantLitigationFundwillprovidegrantsofupto$10,000,no-interestloans,tobepaidbackonlyifthelegalcaseissuccessful.Themoneymaybeusedforalllitigationcostsincludingattorneytravel,filingfees,depositioncosts,etc.MoreinformationabouttheFundandtoapplyforagrant,contactPeterScheyatpschey@centerforhumanrights.org.TheDepartmentofEducationhasawardeda$200,000granttotheCenterforGender&RefugeeStudiesattheUniversityofCalifornia,HastingsCollegeoftheLaw,tostarttheGenderAsylumLawClinic.TheClinicwillbebasedonsuccessfulmodelsofexistinglawschoolclinicswithbothclassroomandpracticecomponents.TheClinicwillenhancetheCenter'sabilitytoserveasanationalresourcewhileprovidinganimportanteducationalopportunityforlawstudentsatHastings.Finally,ASISTA,AdvancedSpecialImmigrantSurvivorsTechnicalAssistance,isanewprojecttoprovidetechnicalassistanceoncomplexquestionsarisinginimmigrationcasesfordomesticviolenceandsexualassaultsurvivors.Assistanceisoffered
(Continuedonpage576)
 
10Bender'sImmigration
Bulletin
564Arril1,2005
u.s.
DetentionofAsylumSeekers:What'stheProblem?What'stheSolution?
ByBillFrelick
What'stheProblem?
ThedetentionofasylumseekersintheUnitedStateshasbeenjustifiedlargelybytheassertionbyImmigrationandCustomsEnforcement(ICE)thataliens,includingasylumseekers,whoarereleasedfromICE'scustodyoverwhelminglyrunawayandareneverseenagain,addingtoaburgeoningpopulationofillegalaliens.Thisassertion,therefore,mustbethestartingpointforanyexaminationofthedetentionofasylumseekersintheUnitedStates.Certainly,ifasylumseekerswhoarereleasedfromcustodygenerallydonotshowupfortheirhearings,thepresumptionoftheriskofabscondingwouldhavetobehigh.Thiswouldprovideareasonablerationaleformeasures,includingdetention,toensurethattheydo,infact,appear.Citingano-showstatisticthatwasusedrepeatedlyin2003and2004,ICE'sten-yearstrategicplan,releasedinmid2003,asserted,"TheappearancerateofindividualsreleasedfromICEcustodyisestimatedtobe15percentandtheprogramdoesnothavetheresourcestoidentify,locate,apprehend,andprocesstheremaining85percent."!Thisarticlewillshowthatthisstatementwasuntrueatthetimeitwasmade,wasrepeatedlyasserted,andwasnotcorrecteduntilFebruary2005-andeventhatcorrectionisofdoubtfulvalidity.Howwastheoriginalstatementuntrue?
It
referredtoappearancerates,whichmeansaliensstillinimmigrationproceedings.TherearetwodistinctgroupsofdeportablealiensnotinICEcustody:first,personswhoseclaimsarestillpendingbeforeimmigrationcourts,includingasylumseekers;second,personswhoseclaimsandappealshavebeenrejected,whohavefinalordersofremoval.OnFebruary8,2005,theU.S.CommissiononInternationalReligiousFreedom(USCIRF)issuedaReportonAsylumSeekersinExpeditedRemoval,
1
Endgame:OfficeofDetentionandRemovalStrategicPlan,2003-2012:DetentionandRemovalStrategyforaSecureHomeland,
(FormM-592,August15,2003),at2-6.
whichshowedthemirrorimageofICE's85percentbreakdownofabscondersfromimmigrationcourts.
In
fact,citingdataprovideddirectlyfromthoseverycourts-theExecutiveOfficeofImmigrationReview(EOIR),whichhousesimmigrationjudgesandtheBoardofImmigrationAppeals(BIA)-USCRIFfounda22percentno-showratebeforeimmigrationcourtsforasylumseekerswhohadbeenreleasedafterestablishingacrediblefear.Theappearancerate,therefore,was
78
percent.'TheICEresponsetotheUSCIRFreport,issuedthesameday,andcitingtheDepartmentofJusticeInspectorGeneralratherthanEOIRasitssource,reviseditsstatistic,sayingthat"approximately30percentofthealiensreleasedorparoledintothecommunitypendingtheirimmigrationcourthearings-toincludeindividualsclaimingtheyareheretoseekasylum-donotevenshowupfortheircourthearings."Whileanythinglessthana100percentappearancerateiscauseforconcern,a22or30percentno-showrateisnotaproblemofnearlythemagnitudeas85percent.PromptedbytheUSCRIFreport,ICEfinallydistinguishedbetweenabscondersduringproceedingsandabsconderswithfinalordersofremoval.ICEdefinedthelattergroupas"theremainingalienpopulationthatdoesappearforhearings,areparoledorreleasedonconditions,andareultimatelydeniedrelief,toincludeasylumandconventionagainsttorture,byanimmigrationorfederalcourtjudge."Forthiscategory,ICEnowusedthe85percentfigureithadpreviouslyusedforalienswhohadnotappearedforhearings.Onthisoccasion,ICEprovidedanestimateofthe"fugitivealienpopulationinexcessof400,000,includingasylumapplicantswhowerefoundtonothavebeentruthfulbeforeajudge."Beforeaddressingthe400,000figure,awordmustbesaidaboutICE'scharacterizationoffailedasylum
2
ReportonAsylumSeekersinExpeditedRemoval.
UnitedStatesCommissiononInternationalReligiousFreedom,February2005.Thereportisavailableathttp://www.uscirf.gov/reportsIERSrptiVolumeI.pdf.
includingrejectedasylumseekersfoundnottobeinneedofinternationalprotection,whohavefinalordersofremovalandwhoaresaidtohavean85percentno-showrate-whatdothesestatisticsactuallymean?Thereareimportantreasonsforregardingbothstatisticswithadegreeofskepticism.
10Bender'sImmigrationBulletin565Arill,2005
applicantsasnothavingbeen"truthful."Asylumseekersarenotnecessarilyrejectedfornothavingbeentruthfulbeforeajudge.Whilesomeasylumseekersarecertainlyrejectedforlackofcredibility,manyothersarerejectedbecausetheirclaimsofharmdonotreachthepersecutionstandardintherefugeedefinitionorbecausetheyarenotabletolinkthepersecutiontheyhaveorwillfacewithoneofthefiveprotectedgroundsintherefugeedefinition:race,religion,nationality,membershipinaparticularsocialgroup,orpoliticalopinion.
It
shouldalsobenotedthatonceanasylumseeker'sclaimsandappealshavebeenrejected,andheorshehasbeenfoundnottobeinneedofinternationalprotection,thatperson'sdetentionanddeportationislegitimateandnotobjectedtobyinternationalhumanrightsandrefugeerightsstandards.Humanrightsprinciplesareinnomannercompromisedbytheapprehensionanddetentionofrejectedasylumseekersorotherdeportablealienswhohaveexhaustedtheirlegalremediesiftheyfleeafterreceivingfinalordersofremoval.Humanrightsstandardshold,however,thatsuchpersonsshouldbetreatedhumanelyandnotbeheldindefinitely.TherecentClarkv.MartinezSupremeCourtdecision,'liketheZadvydasv.Davisdecisionbefore
it,"
addressestheissueofindefinitedetentionofalienswithfinalordersofremovalwhosehomecountriesareunwillingtoacceptthem.Thecourtfoundthattheycannotbeheldindefinitelyiftheycannotberemovedintheforeseeablefuture,andsetasix-monthtimelimitfortheirdetention.JusticeSandraDayO'Connor,inaconcurringopinion,notedthatundersomecircumstancesitispermissibletodetainforlongerthansixmonths,ifalongerperiodisreasonablynecessarytoeffectuateremovalofthealien,orifthealienposesasecurityrisk.ShefurthernotedthataliensreleasedperZadvydasorMartinezwouldbesubjecttotheconditionsofsupervisedrelease,andcouldberedetained,andsubjecttocriminalpenalties,forfailuretoadheretothoseconditions.Keepingthesetwogroupsseparate,therefore-(1)aliens,includingasylumseekerswithpendingclaimswhoaresaidtohavea22or30percentno-showrateforimmigrationcourtappearances;and(2)aliens,
3
Clarkv.Martinez,
No.03-878,2005WL50099,January12,2005.
4
Zadvydas
v.
Davis,
533U.S.678(2001).
TheappearanceratespresentedbybothICEandUSCIRFwithrespecttothefirstgroup(withasupposed22or30percentno-showrateforimmigrationcourt)arecontradictedbyEOIRasylumstatisticsforFY2003andFY2004.EOIRreportsthat4,287claimswereabandonedoutof67,370casescompletedbyimmigrationcourtsinFY2003,ano-showrateofonly6.4percent,'andthat3,820claimswereabandonedoutof66,501completedcasesinFY2004,forano-showrateofonly5.7percent.
6
Thesestatisticsrelateonlytoasylumseekers,whichmaybeacategorynarrowerthanthatcapturedbytheICEstatistic(whichlookedatallalienswithimmigrationcourtdates)andwiderthanthatcapturedbytheUSCIRF(whichlookedonlyatthoseasylumseekerswhoenteredthesystemthroughtheexpeditedremovalprocessandpassedcrediblefearscreening).Thecategoryof"asylumseekers"isimportant,however,ratherthanwiderornarrowercategoriesbecausethedetentionofallasylumseekers(notjustthosewhoarrivedviaexpeditedremoval)isofparticularconcerntohumanrightsadvocatesaspossiblyinfringingontheirabilitytoexercisetheirrighttoseekasylum.WhetherICE'sstatisticrepresentsasylumseekersorawidergroupofaliensinimmigrationproceedings,theagencyusesthisstatistictojustifytheincarcerationofasylumseekers.
U.S.DepartmentofJustice,ExecutiveOfficeforImmigrationReview,ImmigrationCourts,FY
2003
Asylum
Statistics(unpublished.onfile
witbtl\c
author),
Thc-statisrics
show75,939asylumclaimspendingonOctober
J.
2002and64,176applicationsreceived.Actionstakenincluded:granted(10,870);conditional(2,175);denied(20,922),
abandoned(3,820);
withdrawn(14,716);other(13,998).AtthecloseofFY2004,79,057asylumclaimswerependingwithimmigrationcourts.U.S.DepartmentofJustice,ExecutiveOfficefor
Immigration
Review,Immigration
Coutts,
FY2~03
Asylum
Stati!!tics(unpublished,
on
file-with
theauthor).
The
statisticsshow89,844asylum.claimspending.enOctober
1,
2003
and
55,714appJieatioIlS
received.
Actionstakenincluded:
granted(12,319);cenditional
(8~0);denied(22,_103),
abandoned
(4,287);iMitbdratvn
.(14,384);
other
(13,377).AtthecloseofFY2003,72,745asylumClaims-werepending
withimmigrationcourts.
 
-
10Bender'sImmigrationBulletin566Arill,2005
Therefore,itisparticularlyimportanttonotethattheEOIRasylumstatisticsforFY2004andFY2005standinmarkedcontrasttothe85percentno-showrateforimmigrationcourtappearancesthatICEwastoutinginFY2003,aswellasthe30percentfigureitisusingin2005(aswellasthe22percentno-showratecitedintheUSCIRFreport).TheactualnumbersfromEOIRonasylumseekerappearancesinimmigrationcourtsarepresentedinfootnotes5and6.
It
wouldbehelpfulifICEwoulddothesamewhenpresentingitsappearanceratesratherthanpresentingpercentageswithouttheactualnumbers.Immigrationlawpractitionersalsosuggestthatcasescouldbeadministrativelyclosed(usuallyforfailuretoappear)andlaterreopened,butthatEOIRstatisticianswouldnotnecessarilygobackandcorrecttheearlierreportedabandonedclaim.Thismightbemorelikelytohappeniftheno-showandreopeningoccurredindifferentfiscalyears.Thiscouldhappenforavarietyofreasons,suchasnoticestoappearnothavingbeendeliveredproperly.
It
couldalsooccurbecauseofsimplemistakesmadebywell-intentionedforeignerswhohavegreatdifficultynavigatingthecompleximmigrationenforcementandadjudicationsystem.InFebruary2005,theauthorvisitedaGuatemalanwomanbeingheldintheHamptonRoadsJailnearRichmond,Virginiawhohadnolegalrepresentation.ShetoldtheauthorthatonthedayofherscheduledappearanceattheArlingtonimmigrationcourtshemistakenlywenttotheICEdistrictofficeinArlingtoninstead.Shethoughtthatwaswhereshewassupposedtogoforherhearing,andsignedinwhensheenteredthebuilding.Noallowancewasmadeforhermistake;ICEapprehendedanddetainedher,andEOIRnodoubtenteredheraspartofitsno-showstatistic.Thereareotherproblemswithno-showstatisticsonasylumappearancerates.USCIRF'sreportindicatesthatno-showsbyasylumseekersmightwellrepresentabandonmentofclaimsintheUnitedStatesbyasylumseekerswhosepreferredcountryofasylumwasCanadaallalong.Forexample,SriLankansreleasedaftercrediblefearhadan81percentno-showrate(incontrasttoChinesenationalswithano-showrateofonly7percent).Atthetimeofthestudy,theevidenceindicatedthatmostSriLankansproceededtoCanadaafterreleasefromUSimmigrationdetention,asCanadaappearedtohavebeenthepreferreddestinationforlodgingtheirasylumclaims.ThestatisticsshowthatintheyearsFY2000throughFY2003,909SriLankansreleasedaftercrediblefeardeterminationsdidnotshowfortheirhearingsinU.S.immigrationcourts.Duringthethree-yearperiod,2001-2003,UNHCRstatisticsshowthat2,729SriLankansappliedforasylumatportsofentryalongtheu.S.-Canadaborder(aswellasanother2,729inlandandatairports).MostoftheSriLankanswhodidnotappearinU.S.immigrationcourts,therefore,probablydidnotremainintheUnitedStatesasundocumentedabsconders,but,infact,wenttoCanadaandlodgedasylumclaimsthere.'Whataboutthe85percentno-showrateforalienswithfinalordersofremovalandtheestimateofmorethan400,000suchalienabsconders(alsooftencalledalienfugitives)?Despitereportingthatithasapprehended3,409alienabsconderswithfinalordersofremovalin2003fromMarch1,2003(thecreationofICE)toSeptember30,2003(theendofthefiscalyear)and11,063inFY2004,8ICE'sestimateofthenumberofalienabscondershascontinuedtogrow.In2003,ICEwidelypublicizeda314,000figureof"alienabsconders"withfinalordersofremoval."In2004,ICEpointedtoa"growingbacklogofmorethan400,000absconders."?"Ina2004Congressionalhearing,theheadofICE,AssistantSecretaryMichaelGarcia,citedthe400,000figure,anddefinedabscondersas"individualswhohaveviolatedU.S.immigrationlaws,wereordereddeported,andfledbeforetheycouldbedeportedfromtheUnitedStates.':"Whilethenumberlookshuge,itisinnowaycertainthatagoodportionofthe"fugitives"inquestionhaveanyideathattheyareabsconders.AGeneralAccountingOfficestudyreleasedaboutthesametimeasthe314,000figure,entitled"HomelandSecurity:INSCannotLocateManyAliensBecause
It
LacksReliableAddressInformation,"saidthatthe
7
ThispathmaylargelybeblockedwithimplementationoftheUS-CanadaSafeThirdCountryAgreementonDecember29,2004.
8
"ICEDetentionandRemovalSetsRecordforFiscalYear2004:AlienRemovalsIncreaseby12,000;FugitiveAlienApprehensionsClimb112Percent,"ICENewsRelease,November16,2004.(ICEdeportedatotalof157,281aliensinFT2004.)
9
SeeEndgame,supra
note1.
10
"IceExpandsPilotProjecttoDetainDeportableAliens,"ICEPressOffice,March26,2004.
11
StatementofMichaelGarcia,BureauofImmigrationandCustomsEnforcement,beforetheHouseSubcommitteeonCrime,Terrorism,andHomelandSecurity,February3,2004.applicationforasylum.Hethenhadreturnedtohiscountry,obtainedaworkvisa,andreturnedlegallytotheUnitedStates.Butourimmigrationsystemneverplacedtheletterwithdrawinghisasylumapplicationintohispermanentfile.Asaresult,itsentanoticeofhisasyluminterview-anoticeheneverreceived-andheldaninabsentiahearingduringwhichthejudgeorderedhimdeported.16
10Bender'sImmigrationBulletin567Aprill,2005
ImmigrationandNaturalizationService(INS-ICE'spredecessor)"lacksproceduresandcontrolsformaintainingcompleteandcurrentchangeofaddressrecords.Asaresult,INScannotdeterminewhetheranalienhascompliedand,therefore,cannotissuecertificatesofnorecordwiththerequireddegreeofcertainty.'?"InAugust2002,theINSacknowledgedthatabouttwomilliondocumentsfiledbyaliens,includingabout200,000change-of-addressforms,weresitting-unprocessed-inawarehouseinMissouri.13Although,the314,000missingalienswereenteredintotheDeportableAlienControlSystem(DACS)usedfortheAbsconderApprehensionInitiative,"theGAOreportnoted,"ChangeofaddressinformationsubmittedtotheINSisnotusedtoupdateaddressinformationintheDACs."15Thattheestimatednumberofalienabsconderscontinuedtogrowin2004and2005suggeststhattheproblem-howeverdefined-hasnotbeensolved.JeanneButterfield,theexecutivedirectoroftheAmericanImmigrationLawyersAssociation,wroteintheJanuary16,2005WashingtonPost:Theimmigrationagencyisnotoriouslypooratupdatingitsaddressdatabases,soitoftensendshearingnoticesandothercorrespondencetooutdatedorincorrectaddresses.Equallytroublingisthatourimmigrationlawsallowsuchhearingstobeconductedwithouttheimmigrantbeingpresent.Inothercases,immigrantshavebeenmislabeled"absconders"asaresultofotheragencyerrors.Forexample,aphysicianinruralAlabamarecentlywaspickedupasan"absconder."Hehadsentaletteryearsearliertotheimmigrationservicewithdrawinghis
12
HomelandSecurity:INSCannotLocateManyAliensBecauseItLacksReliableAddressInformation,
U.S.GovernmentAccountingOffice(GAO-03-188,November2002),at18.
13
"INSBacklogShowsFollyofCastingTooLargeaNet,"
PortlandPressHerald,
August7,2002,at8A.
)
14SeememorandumfromtheDeputyAttorneyGeneral,January25,2002,"GuidanceforAbsconderApprehensionInitiative."15GAOreport,
supra
note12,at23.Anotherreasontoregardthe400,000figurewithskepticismisthattheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity(andtheINSpriortoMarch2003)hasnotadequatelydevelopedthecapacityforalienexit-entrytracking.Alienswhoarenotincustodywholearnthattheirappealshavebeendeniedoftenleavethecountryontheirownticket,notwaitingtobeapprehendedanddeported.Theauthorrecentlyexperiencedacasewherethishappened.TheauthorlearnedofthecasewhenithadbeenremandedfromafederalappealscourttotheBoardofImmigrationAppeals.Theclaimant,aBosnianrefugeewhohadadjustedtopermanentresidentstatus,committedaminorcrime(shoplifting),andwasordereddeported.Notunderstandingthathisappealwasstillalive,themanthoughthehadtoleave,boughtaticket,andflewbacktoBosnia.Ifhislawyerhadnotgonetothetroubleofinvestigatingthewhereaboutsofhisclient,andinformingtheauthoritiesthathisclienthadleftthecountry,andhadhisappealfailed,helikelywouldhavebeenaddedtothealienabsconderpopulation,althoughallhedidwassaveICEthecostofdeportinghim.
ThePushforDetention
ICE'spresentationoftheproblemofabscondersisoftenmadeinthecontextofpleadinginadequateresourcesandaskingformorefunding,asintheEndgamestrategicplanexample,citedabove("theprogramdoesnothavetheresourcestoidentify,locate,apprehend,andprocesstheremaining85percent.").ICEhasbeenverysuccessfulinmakingthecaseforever-increasinglevelsoffundingfordetention.ICE'sbudgetgrewby
I
percentfromFY2004toFY2005withanincreaseof$108millionfordetentionand16
JeanneButterfield,"TooQuicktoJudge'Absconders'"
WashingtonPost,
January16,2005,atB6.

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