TIME MAGGIE: DUE PROCESS TAKES ANOTHER HIT IN IMMIGRATION COURT WITH EOIR’S DISINGENUOUS MEMO DISCOURAGING CONTINUANCES IN IMMIGRATION COURT! — When Will The Article III Courts & Commentators Expose The REAL Fraud Being Fobbed Off On The Public By The Sessions DOJ & EOIR? — The DOJ Is Trying To Blame The “Champions Of Due Process” (Private Lawyers) For The “ADR” — Aimless Docket Reshuffling — That The DOJ Created And Actually Mandated— Hold The DOJ Fully Accountable For The Failure Of The U.S. Immigration Courts!

http://time.com/4902820/immigration-lawyers-judges-courts-continuance/

Tessa Berenson writes in Time:

“The president and attorney general have vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, and the new directive could help move cases through the system at a faster clip. Most immigration lawyers agree that the overloaded courts are a major issue. But they fear the end result will be more deportations as judges use the wide discretion afforded to them to curtail continuances. The Immigration and Nationality Act doesn’t establish a right to a continuance in immigration proceedings, Keller’s letter notes. They’re largely governed by a federal regulation which says that an “immigration judge may grant a motion for continuance for good cause shown.”

Immigration lawyers often rely heavily on continuances for their prep work because immigration law grants limited formal discovery rights. Unlike in criminal cases, in which the prosecution is generally required to turn over evidence to the defense, immigration lawyers often have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to find out what the government has on their client. These can take months to process.

“If their priority is speed, we all know that sounds really good, to be more efficient, but usually due process takes a hit when your focus is efficiency,” says Andrew Nietor, an immigration attorney based in San Diego. “By the time we are able to connect with our clients, that first court appearance might be the day after we meet somebody, so we haven’t had the opportunity to do the investigation and do the research. And up until several months ago, it was standard to give immigration attorneys at least one continuance for what they call attorney preparation. Now it’s not standard anymore.”

The Justice Department’s guidance says that “the appropriate use of continuances serves to protect due process, which Immigration Judges must safeguard above all,” and notes that “it remains general policy that at least one continuance should be granted” for immigrants to obtain legal counsel.

But the memo is more skeptical about continuances for attorney preparation. “Although continuances to allow recently retained counsel to become familiar with a case prior to the scheduling of an individual merits hearing are common,” it says, “subsequent requests for preparation time should be reviewed carefully.”

It remains to be seen if this careful review will streamline the ponderous system or add another difficulty for the harried lawyers and hundreds of thousands of immigrants trying to work their way through it. For Jeronimo, it may have been decisive. In mid-August, the judge found that the defense didn’t adequately prove Jeronimo’s deportation would harm his young daughter and gave him 45 days to voluntarily leave the United States. Now Jeronimo must decide whether to appeal his case. But he’s been held in a detention center in Georgia since March, and his lawyers worry that he has lost hope. He may soon be headed back to Mexico, five months after he was picked up at a traffic stop in North Carolina.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

OK, let’s have a reality check here. The tremendous backlog is NOT caused by giving respondents time to find an attorney in an already overwhelmed system or by giving those overworked and under-compensated private attorneys time to adequately prepare their clients’ cases.

No, it’s caused by two things both within the control of the Government. The first is the abuse of the system, actively encouraged by this Administration, for cases of individuals who are law abiding members of the U.S. community, helping our nation prosper, who either should be granted relief outside the Immigrant Court process, or whose cases should be taken off the docket by the reasonable use of prosecutorial discretion (something that the Trump Administration eliminated while outrageously calling it a “return to the rule of law” — nothing of the sort — it’s a return to docket insanity enhanced by intentional cruelty).

Your tax dollars actually pay for the wasteful and counterproductive abuses being encouraged by the Trump Administration! Eventually, Congress will have to find a solution that allows all or most of these folks to stay. But, mindlessly shoving them onto already overwhelmed Immigration Court dockets is not that solution.

The second major cause is even more invidious: Aimless Docket Reshuffling (“ADR”) by the Government! The problematic continuances being given in this system — those of many months, or even many years — are forced upon Immigration Judges by EOIR and the DOJ, usually without any meaningful input from either the sitting Immigration Judges or the affected public. Immigration Judges are required to accommodate politically-motivated “changes in priorities” and wasteful transfer of Immigration Judges wth full dockets (which then must be reset, usually to the end of the docket, sometimes to another Immigration Judge) to other locations, often in detention centers, to support enforcement goals without any concern whatsoever for due process for the individuals before the court or the proper administration of justice within the U.S. Immigration Court system.

There is only one real cure for this problem: removal of the U.S. Immigration Courts from the highly politicized U.S. Department of Justice to an independent Article I Court structure that will focus  on due process foremost, and efficient, but fair, court administration. But, until then, it’s up to the press to expose what’s really happening here and to the Article III Courts to call a halt to this travesty.

The “heroes” of the U.S. Immigration Court system, dedicated NGOs and attorneys, many of them acting without compensation or with minimal compensation, are under attack by this Administration and the DOJ. Their imaginary transgression is to insist on a fair day in court for individuals trying to assert their constitutional right to a fair hearing. They are being scapegoated for problems that the U.S. Government has caused, aggravated, and failed to fix, over several Administrations.

The DOJ is creating a knowingly false narrative to cover up their failure to deliver due process in the U.S. Immigration Courts and to shift the blame to the victims and their representatives. A simple term for that is “fraud.”

If we allow this to happen, everyone will be complicit in an assault not only on American values but also on the U.S. Constitution itself, and the due process it is supposed to guarantee for all. If it disappears for the most vulnerable in our society, don’t expect it to be there in the future when you or those around you might need due process of law. And, when you don’t get due process, you should also expect the Government to blame you for their failure.

PWS

08-19-17

 

TIME: Jeannette Vizguerra, Undocumented Activist, Named One Of The World’s 100 Most Influential People! Guess Who DIDN’T Make The List (Hint, Donald Trump, Of Course, Was On It)!

http://time.com/collection/2017-time-100/4736271/jeanette-vizguerra/

America Ferrera, Emmy-winning actor, producer and activist, profiles American heroine Vizguerra:

“Some families have emergency plans for fires, earthquakes or tornadoes. Jeanette Vizguerra’s family had an emergency plan for a dreaded knock at the door. If U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials came to her home, her children knew to film the encounter, alert friends and family and hide in the bedroom. The Vizguerra family lived in terror of being ripped apart by deportation.

Jeanette moved to the U.S. to be a janitor, working as an outspoken union organizer and building her own company before becoming an advocate for immigration reform—a bold and risky thing for an undocumented immigrant. After fighting off deportation for eight years, she decided to go public with her story and sought refuge in the basement of a Denver church.

The current Administration has scapegoated immigrants, scaring Americans into believing that undocumented people like Jeanette are criminals. She came to this country not to rape, murder or sell drugs, but to create a better life for her family. She shed blood, sweat and tears to become a business owner, striving to give her children more opportunities than she had. This is not a crime. This is the American Dream.”

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Among those who didn’t “make the list:” Attorney General Jeff “Gonzo-Apocalypto” Sessions and DHS Secretary John “The Parrot” Kelly.

PWS

04-23-17

TIME: Deportation Can Be a Death Sentence — We Should Be Concerned About “Quick Removal Schemes” By The Administration & Continued Deterioration of Due Process And Fairness For Asylum Seekers – Particularly Those Unrepresented — In U.S. Immigration Court!

http://time.com/4696017/deportation-death-refugees-asylum/

Conchita Cruz and Swapna Reddy, co-founders of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center, write:

“For one immigrant group—asylum seekers already living in the United States—the fear is especially intense: deportation is a death sentence.
While thousands showed up to support refugee families at airports in response to the refugee ban, many Americans do not realize that a different group of refugee families stands to be picked up in raids, detained and wrongfully deported from the United States. These refugees are called “asylum seekers” because they are seeking refugee status from inside the United States instead of abroad.
For many asylum seekers, there is no mechanism to apply for refugee status abroad, which causes them to come to the U.S.-Mexico border and turn themselves in, seeking refuge. Like their counterparts in airports, they have experienced incredible violence in their countries of origin. They have been brutally raped, threatened by gunpoint to join gangs, or witnessed the murder of loved ones.
In response, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) holds asylum seekers in detention centers for weeks or months until they pass a preliminary interview with an asylum officer. If they secure release, they move in with relatives or friends while remaining in deportation proceedings pending a full asylum trial.
Asylum seekers do not have a right to government-appointed counsel though their lives hang in the balance. Instead, families are forced to navigate the complex immigration system alone in a language they do not understand. Many also suffer from trauma-based disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder due to the persecution they experienced in the countries they fled.”

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Perhaps contrary to popular perception, we often return individuals to dangerous and life-threatening situations.  That’s because of the somewhat arcane “nexus” requirement for asylum that only covers persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

By manipulating these definitions, U.S. Government authorities often can deny protection even to individuals who clearly face life-threatening danger upon return.  The Government has worked particularly hard to develop technical legal criteria to disqualify those fleeing danger in the Northern Triangle.

Given the complexity and the highly legalistic nature of the system, competent representation by an attorney is a requirement for due process. For example, according to TRAC, for a sample population of Northern Triangle “women with children,” slightly more than 26% of those with lawyers got favorable decisions from the Immigration Court. Without lawyers, only 1.5% succeeded.

And, if the law were interpreted more reasonably and generously, in accordance with the spirit of asylum protection, I think that a substantial majority of those applying  for asylum from the Northern Triangle would be granted relief. Pressure for more favorable interpretations will not come from unrepresented individuals who can’t speak English, let alone articulate, document, and support sophisticated legal arguments for better interpretations of protection laws.

PWS

03/09/17

 

Time Maggie: “Day Without Immigrants”

http://fortune.com/2017/02/16/day-without-immigrants-strike/

Madeline Farber reports:

“Businesses across the United States are preparing to close as immigrants plan to partake in the “Day Without Immigrants” protests.
Immigrants—namely in Washington, Austin, and Philadelphia, among others—are planning to stay home Thursday, boycotting their jobs, businesses, and even refusing to send their children to school, the Washington Post reports. The strike is in response to President Trump’s promise to crack down on those living in the country illegally, primarily through “extreme vetting.” The immigrants will also be protesting Trump’s mission to build a wall along the Mexican border.”

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According to local news, “Busboys and Poets” and several other DC area restaurants will be closed today, and some others will open but with limited staff providing service.

PWS

02/16/17

NEW FROM NEWSWEEK: “U.S. ALLIES CONDUCT INTELLIGENCE OPERATION AGAINST TRUMP STAFF AND ASSOCIATES, INTERCEPTED COMMUNICATIONS”

http://www.newsweek.com/allies-intercept-russia-trump-adviser-communications-557283

Kurt Eichenwald writes in Time Maggie:

“As part of intelligence operations being conducted against the United States for the last seven months, at least one Western European ally intercepted a series of communications before the inauguration between advisers associated with President Donald Trump and Russian government officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Related: President Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns amidst Russia controversy

The sources said the interceptions include at least one contact between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and a Russian official based in the United States. It could not be confirmed whether this involved the telephone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that has led to Flynn’s resignation, or additional communications. The sources said the intercepted communications are not just limited to telephone calls: The foreign agency is also gathering electronic and human source information on Trump’s overseas business partners, at least some of whom the intelligence services now consider to be agents of their respective governments. These operations are being conducted out of concerns that Russia is seeking to manipulate its relationships with Trump administration officials as part of a long-term plan to destabilize the NATO alliance.

Moreover, a Baltic nation is gathering intelligence on officials in the Trump White House and executives with the president’s company, the Trump Organization, out of concern that an American policy shift toward Russia could endanger its sovereignty, according to a third person with direct ties to that nation’s government.”

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PWS

02/15/17

 

Sometimes, Saying Nothing & Just Going About Your Business Is The Best Strategy

http://time.com/4664957/trump-tweets-judiciary-judges-gorsuch/

Mark Sherman reports in Time:

“(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s unusually personal criticism of federal judges has drawn rebukes from many quarters, including from Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but not from the judges themselves.
And that’s not likely to change, even if the tweeter in chief keeps up his attacks on judges. Bolstered by lifetime tenure, independent judges should not respond to criticism, no matter how harsh or that its source is the president, said a former judge, a law school dean and a constitutional law professor.
Judges “should basically give the tweets the attention they deserve, which means they should be ignored. This is basically a childish tantrum from someone who didn’t get his way. And the judiciary should go about its business and decide cases, including cases involving him,” said Vanderbilt University law professor Suzanna Sherry.
Trump’s style may be different and his language more coarse, but the comments themselves are not the “threat to judicial independence that some commentators have made them out to be,” said University of Pennsylvania law school dean Theodore Ruger.
Former U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell said judges would find themselves in unfamiliar territory “if they start critiquing the Twitter feed of the president.”
Chief Justice John Roberts has apparently embraced that advice. Roberts declined through a court spokeswoman to comment for this article.

Roberts himself was Trump’s first target during the presidential campaign. Last winter, Trump called the chief justice “an absolute disaster” and “disgraceful” mainly for the two opinions Roberts wrote that preserved President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Next in Trump’s sights was U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was presiding over fraud lawsuits against Trump University. In June, Trump called Curiel “a hater of Donald Trump” who couldn’t be fair to him because Curiel is “of Mexican heritage” and Trump had proposed building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Last week, Trump pegged U.S. District Judge James Robart as a “so-called judge” after Robart imposed a temporary halt on Trump’s executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from coming to the United States. On Sunday, Trump renewed his Twitter attacks against Robart: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
On Wednesday, he said the “courts seem to be so political,” in reference to the three federal appeals court judges who are considering the administration’s plea to enforce the order.
Later Wednesday, Gorsuch said he found the president’s attacks on the judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” The comments were made in a private meeting with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, although senators often provide an account of what was discussed in such meetings. Gorsuch’s confirmation team confirmed the essence of the remarks.
Trump is not the first president to object to court decisions or to opine about how a court should rule, said Paul Collins, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Obama used his 2010 State of the Union message to assail the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign finance ruling, with several justices in the audience. Obama also delivered a lengthy pitch for his health care law while the court was weighing the case in 2015.
With the exception of John F. Kennedy, every president since Dwight Eisenhower has been critical of some Supreme Court decisions, said Collins, drawing on research he did with co-author Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha of the University of North Texas.
But past presidents did not make their displeasure known by “attacking judges … or by questioning the decision such that there’s a possibility of undermining faith in the judicial system,” Collins said. “I get this uncomfortable sense that the president may be trying to lower confidence in judges in anticipation of defying a ruling.”
Ruger said Roberts, as the head of the judicial branch of government, or another justice might feel compelled to speak up about the importance of an independent judiciary if the attacks continue.But Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah who was a judge from 2002 to 2007, said Trump has the right to voice his disagreement. “We live in an age now where, for better or for worse, the language we use is getting rougher in a variety of contexts,” he said.”

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It also helps to have a job with life tenure.

PWS

02/09/17

Time: Administration Doubles Down On Refugee, Visa Bars — Trump Praises Implementation

http://time.com/4652644/white-house-defends-refugee-visa-order/

“Speaking to reporters Saturday, a senior administration official defended the secrecy and surprise surrounding the order’s implementation, arguing that by more fully informing the traveling public, air carriers and ports of entry about the order would have made it easy for those seeking to circumvent it to enter the U.S. Businesses, universities and aid organizations were reportedly left scrambling to rebook travel plans and provide assistance to those stranded overseas by the order.
“Everyone who needed to know was informed,” a the official said.
“This White House conveys its deepest appreciation to everyone involved in the implementation of this order, and that’s been formally conveyed to the managers of both State and Homeland Security,” the official said. The official added that the Trump administration had been working on the order and its implementation for “many weeks” during the transition process, including consultation with State Department and Homeland Security officials.
But even as the administration boasts of the order’s swift execution, there were key details left unfinished, including formalizing the exemptions rules and requirements for the waivers. The official noted that the State Department was also still in the process of defining what “in transit” means for the purpose of the order’s “undue hardship” exception for refugees who had been approved to enter the U.S. — for instance, a refugee temporarily residing in a third country en route to the U.S. The official added that the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection were in the process of finalizing that and other guidance to be released later Saturday.
According to the official, U.S. green card holders from one of the affected countries currently abroad will need to apply for a waiver before being allowed to return to the U.S. The precise process for obtaining the waiver was still being finalized Saturday by the State Department. Green card holders from those countries currently in the U.S. would be required to meet with a consular officer before departing the country, the official added.”

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Pretty incoherent statement from the Administration.  We’re talking about folks who either were already living here with green cards or who had spent months, if not years, being screened abroad, to determine whether they were of “special humanitarian concern to the U.S.” or qualified for special visas that Congress provided for those who helped us during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Go figure.

I’m glad I’m not a refugee.  I’m also happy not to have to implement or defend this program.

PWS

01/28/17