NICHOLAS KULISH IN THE NYT: TORTURED IN VENEZUELA, HANDCUFFED BY ICE @ THE MIAMI ASYLUM OFFICE! — DHS Continues To Abuse Legal Authority, Clog Backlogged U.S. Immigration Courts! My Quote: “Why clog an already clogged court docket with a case that looks like a slam dunk?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/us/asylum-torture-venezuela.html

Nicholas reports:

“Marco Coello, then a skinny 18-year-old high school student, was grabbed by plainclothes agents of the Venezuelan security services as he joined a 2014 demonstration against the government in Caracas.

They put a gun to his head. They attacked him with their feet, a golf club, a fire extinguisher. They tortured him with electric shocks. Then Mr. Coello was jailed for several months, and shortly after his release, he fled to the United States.

Human Rights Watch extensively documented his case in a report that year. The State Department included him in its own human rights report on Venezuela in 2015. With such an extensive paper trail of mistreatment in his home country, his lawyer, Elizabeth Blandon, expected a straightforward asylum interview when Mr. Coello appeared at an immigration office this April in Miami.

“I had this very naïve idea that we were going to walk in there and the officer was going to say, ‘It’s an honor to meet you,’” said Ms. Blandon, an immigration law expert in Weston, Fla.

Instead, he was arrested and taken to a detention facility on the edge of the Everglades. He was now a candidate for deportation. “Every time they would move me around, I would fear that they were going to take me to deport me,” said Mr. Coello, now 22.

Mr. Coello’s case drew extensive media coverage in both Miami and Caracas and, eventually, the intervention of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The senator helped secure Mr. Coello’s release, though he could still be deported.

The case may have been a sign of just how far the government is willing to go to carry out President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“It’s very unusual — almost unprecedented — that ICE would arrest an asylum applicant who is at a U.S.C.I.S. office waiting for their asylum interview,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell Law School.”

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Just because arresting individuals believed to be in the U.S. without authorization is legal doesn’t mean that it’s not stupid or wasteful in many cases. Cases like this belong in the Asylum Office.

In a well-functioning system, Mr. Coello likely would have been granted asylum following his interview. Instead, he’s on an already overcrowded U.S. Immigration Court docket with a merits hearing scheduled for approximately one year from now.

What does the U.S. gain from these types of wasteful enforcement actions? What message are we sending to Mr. Coello and others who will eventually become full members of our society? What kind of messages are we sending to Venezuela and those attempting to escape from some of the world’s most brutal governments?

Read Nicholas’s complete report, which contains more quotations from me and others, at the above link.

PWS

06-13-17

USA TODAY: Even Without Trump’s “Fully Enhanced” Enforcement, U.S. Immigration Courts Are Drowning In Cases — Limits On “Prosecutorial Discretion” By DHS Already Adversely Affecting Dockets!

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/17/immigration-courts-new-rules-trump/98674758/

Rick Jervis, Alan Gomez, and Gustavo Solis report:

“In San Antonio, an immigration judge breezes through more than 20 juvenile cases a day, warning those in the packed courtroom to show up at their next hearing — or risk deportation.

A Miami immigration lawyer wrestles with new federal rules that could wind up deporting clients who, just a few weeks ago, appeared eligible to stay.

Judges and attorneys in Los Angeles struggle with Mandarin translators and an ever-growing caseload.

Coast to coast, immigration judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys are straining to decipher how the federal immigration rules released in February by the Trump administration will impact the system — amid an already burgeoning backlog of existing cases.

 

The new guidelines, part of President Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration,  give enforcement agents greater rein to deport immigrants without hearings and detain those who entered the country without permission.

But that ambitious policy shift faces a tough hurdle: an immigration court system already juggling more than a half-million cases and ill-equipped to take on thousands more.

“We’re at critical mass,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio immigration attorney who works with juveniles. “There isn’t an empty courtroom. We don’t have enough judges. You can say you’re going to prosecute more people, but from a practical perspective, how do you make that happen?”

Today, 301 judges hear immigration cases in 58 courts across the United States. The backlogged cases have soared in recent years, from 236,415 in 2010 to 508,036 this year — or nearly 1,700 outstanding cases per judge, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research group at Syracuse University.

Some judges and attorneys say it’s too early to see any effects from the new guidelines. Others say they noticed a difference and fear that people with legitimate claims for asylum or visas may be deported along with those who are criminals.

USA TODAY Network sent reporters to several immigration courts across the country to witness how the system is adjusting to the new rules.”

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Read the entire article, with reports from the Miami, Los Angeles, and San Antonio U.S. Immigration courts at the above link.

As I mentioned in the previous post, http://wp.me/p8eeJm-IG, one of the ways the Trump Administration apparently plans to deal with the U.S. Immigration Court “bottleneck” is by avoiding the court altogether through expanded use of “Expedited Removal” before DHS officers.

Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced plans to “streamline” the existing hiring process for U.S. Immigration Judges and to seek an additional 125 Immigration Judges over the next tow years (although those new judgeships would require congressional approval). http://wp.me/p8eeJm-Gp

PWS

04-17-17