David Bennion: March 2008 Archives
This story (via Yglesias) from 60 Minutes about
The story is simply amazing.
(CBS) At the age of 19, Murat Kurnaz vanished into
's shadow prison system in the war on terror. He was from America Germany, traveling in , and was picked up three months after 9/11. But there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one. Pakistan
The story Kurnaz told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley is a rare look inside that clandestine system of justice, where the government's own secret files reveal that an innocent man lost his liberty, his dignity, his identity, and ultimately five years of his life.
The agency has completely failed to keep up with the
predictable (and predicted) surge in naturalization applications last year
stemming from upcoming elections and a substantial fee increase for
naturalization applications—from $400 to $675.
In addition, a new instance of bribery and malfeasance at USCIS in
Preemptive Update: After writing most of this post, I saw that Nina Bernstein at the NY Times has blown the Baichu story wide open (I initially saw a shorter version reported in the NY Daily News). I’ll definitely have more to say about this later.
Damn Mexicans had a post up a while back mentioning that people had been asking about where to find immigration information online. In belated response, I'm including below some resources, many of which I use on a regular basis in my work. I can't say much about message boards since I don't visit most of them--from what I've seen, there is a little good information and a lot of bad. Also, some of them have been overrun by trolls.
I'll try to update this list below when new resources come to light (please send me any links I might have missed through the contact button on the sidebar or in comments below), and perhaps we can link to the list somewhere on the sidebar if people find it useful.
Please see the Important Note at the bottom of the page--in
short, this is not intended to be a DIY guide, and you really should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney for any significant immigration matter.
- This number is not intended for nationwide use. Unfortunately at present this number can only serve migrants in the New York/New Jersey area.
- This number should NOT be used for routine immigration
inquiries. It is meant to be called
in emergencies only: DURING an ICE raid or upon contact with ICE officers. This is a crucial time during which detention can potentially be avoided or negative legal consequences mitigated.
[Begin press release]
Apparently an incarceration ratio of 1 in 100, while good enough for
Federal authorities are cracking down on immigrants who were previously deported and then reentered the country illegally -- a crime that now makes up more than one-third of all prosecutions in
Los Angelesand surrounding counties, a Times review of attorney's statistics shows. U.S.
Most of these prisoners were probably removed through an
administrative removal proceeding after coming to the
But there are serious consequences if someone previously
deported decides to come back to be with their children or spouse, or out of
economic desperation. Then the outcome
of the previous administrative proceeding is used against them in criminal
(Photo by Flickr user bnittoli used under Creative Commons 2.0 license.)
If you ever thought you might get involved on this issue or think you might want to in the future, don’t wait … NOW is the time.
Call your representative at 202-225-3121 (or find your rep's number here) and ask them not to sign the petition to discharge H.R. 4088, the Shuler-Tancredo Bill (the SAVE Act), and to vote NO on the SAVE Act if it comes to the floor. Or utilize this simple online form to make your opinion heard.
petition currently pushed by the GOP needs 218 signatures—at last count, it had
The combination of burdensome and incomprehensible rules, unjustifiably high fees (e.g., $340 for a work permit, often baselessly or mistakenly denied by USCIS, and $585 to appeal the decision--over $1,000 for a bare-bones DIY green card application), race-based decisionmaking cloaked in administrative discretion, and extraordinarily punitive enforcement measures have created a climate of hate and fear. This situation didn't arise organically, nor is it an inevitable consequence of natural social and economic forces, as restrictionists would have us believe. It is the carefully planned result of years of conservative organizing and legislative action, spearheaded since 1999 by the nativist caucus in the House.
- Spoken with an accent?
- "Looked Mexican?"
- Attended a pro-migrant rally?
- Complained about the government?
- Written a blog post about immigration?
Watch out--ICE could come to your door, just like they came to the door of Kevin Crabtree, a San Francisco-based immigration lawyer.
He filed a complaint after ICE showed up and demanded entry, failed to legally justify the reason for their search, and threatened to break his door down anyway. Here is part of his complaint to ICE headquarters:
I am a citizen of the
and an attorney at law. I practice immigration law exclusively, with a particular focus on removal defense. I consequently have frequent interactions with employees of USICE and USCIS in United States . San Francisco
So, it was an interesting coincidence that two ICE officers rang my doorbell this morning-having bypassed the street security gate and buzzer that most people understand to be an indication that the 12-unit apartment building is not open to the general public. At 8:15 a.m., as I happened to be discussing case strategy on the phone with co-counsel regarding a bond hearing the same day, my apartment doorbell rang.
It turned out to be ICE agents in lukewarm pursuit of brown people to harass and lock up. Crabtree told them to leave.
After I closed the door, the unidentified male officer stated, "I'm going to kick your door down." He also threatened me with prosecution for alien harboring.
Crabtree repeatedly asked the officers to produce a warrant. They never did, instead relying on threats and intimidation to gain entry to a private citizen's home. What they didn't anticipate was confronting an experienced immigration attorney who knew his rights and wasn't going to back down.
As an American citizen, I feel that it is very important that the representatives of my own government respect the law rather than break it. The conduct of the unidentified officer in threatening to kick down my door, though he obviously lacked the legal authority to do so, is indefensible. Such behavior is unbecoming a federal law enforcement agent. The officer's threat placed me in fear of my physical safety.
But for my training as a lawyer, I have little doubt that my rights would have been completely brushed aside. By making criminal threats against my home and physical safety, threatening prosecution without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion, and refusing to respect my property rights, the officers clearly sought to dissuade the exercise of my constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
. . .
ICE officers undergo extensive training on immigration and constitutional law. I have no doubt that the conduct of the above officers was knowing and willful. This incident also appears to be just one example of a pattern of constitutional violations in recent times by ICE officers, suggesting the agency has adopted a policy of aggressive violations of constitutional rights in its enforcement efforts.
One wonders if next the government will reopen
[Image: Wired/Privacy International]
Symsess, who has been lately gracing this blog with daily immigration round-ups, made agood point over at American Humanity.
Two things that I hear in the immigration reform rhetoric trouble me a little and they are "pay a significant fine" and "go to the back of the line." What 'line' are they talking about. As far as I know there is no line of people from many countries south of the border because they are excluded from the immigration lottery each year. I'm sure I don't know enough about the ins and outs of this process, but I'd certainly like clarification on what "back of the line" means.
This article quotes Obama:
"We have to require that undocumented workers, who are provided a pathway to citizenship, not only learn English, pay back taxes and pay a significant fine, but also that they're going to the back of the line," he said.
I hear this "line" referred to in two contexts. One is the context I think Obama is talking
about, where some future version of comprehensive immigration reform would provide a
path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants now here in the
I'll continue now with the second part of my review of What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, by Dave Eggers. The first part was here, in case you missed it.
The book illuminates a rather serious problem for migrants
and migrant advocates. Migrants often
come to the