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

Not So Fast, My Friends! — Border Intrusions Increase In May N/W/S Administration’s (Perhaps Premature) “Victory Dance!”

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/11/illegal-immigration-across-southwest-border-increa/

Stephen Dinan reports in the Washington Times:

“Illegal immigration across the southwest border appears to have jumped 27 percent in May, according to numbers released this week by Homeland Security, breaking a three-month streak of declines under President Trump and suggesting that the slump in migrants has bottomed out.

The Border Patrol nabbed 14,535 illegal immigrants in the southwest last month, up from just 11,129 in April. Analysts said that the number of people caught is a rough measure of the overall flow of people trying to sneak in.

The number of illegal immigrants showing up at ports of entry without authorization also ticked up, from 4,649 to 5,432.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol and the ports of entry, acknowledged the increase in crossings, but attributed it to “a seasonal uptick.”

CBP said it “expects the uptick to continue” through the summer months.

The numbers suggest that while Mr. Trump appears to have changed the calculations of many border crossers, there’s still a segment of the population — particularly among Central Americans — determined to make the journey.

Agents usually record an uptick from April to May, but the jump this year is the largest on record.

 

Still, it’s by far the lowest May total on record. For example, May 2016 saw more than 40,000 illegal immigrants caught at the border.

Illegal immigration from Cuba and Haiti had been a problem last year, but had dipped under the final months of President Obama and again under Mr. Trump.

Now, Cubans appear to be surging again, while Haitians remain low.

Two other special categories of migrants — unaccompanied minors and families traveling together — also saw increases last month, rising from a combined 2,117 nabbed by the Border Patrol in April to 3,070 in May.”

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We should also keep in mind that according to other recent reports, the largest flow of asylum applicants is now from Venezuela. Most of them are middle class and business-oriented individuals who already have visas enabling them to enter the U.S. legally. Once admitted, they can apply for asylum at any time during the first year following entry. Such individuals would not show up in any of the border or port of entry statistics.

PWS

06-12-17

Venezuela Now Tops List Of Asylum Sending Countries!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/11/us/venezuela-asylum-seekers-us/index.html

Marilia Brocchetto, Polo Sandoval and Jaide Timm-Garcia report for CNN:

“(CNN)The decision to come to the United States wasn’t an easy one. Carolina, a 33-year-old mother of three, said it was perhaps one of the toughest decisions of her life — one taken after many sleepless nights in her Barquisimeto, Venezuela, apartment.

Holding back tears, she remembers a night spent on the floor. She huddled with her three kids, praying, as Venezuelan government forces fiercely clashed with protesters outside her apartment walls. In the streets anti-government protesters demanded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro step down. Their protests were met with tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets. During that night of April 11, three Venezuelans would die in the Barquisimetoarea.
“The hardest moments happened on the last days,” Carolina said. Carolina is not her real name. She has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation against her family in Venezuela.

Carolina says she got emotional the first time she visited an American supermarket. One of the first things she bought was candy for her children.

Sitting in a metro Atlanta shopping area, she talks of an entire life left behind. The boutique she owned with her husband. The social events she organized. She remembers her family — her uncle who’s currently recovering from a stroke and her grandmother, in her 80’s, who has no one to care for her.
“One day I called her and she told me all she had to eat was rice and butter.”
Venezuela has been plagued by food shortages and soaring prices. Inflation levels are in the triple digits. In 2016, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost about 19 pounds due to the lack of food. Many of its citizens had to skip meals, according to a national poll.
People have demanded president Maduro step down and hold elections. Protests have stretched into a third month, resulting in nearly 70 deaths.
Carolina, her husband and their three kids will soon be joining the growing number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United states. Venezuelans are now the top asylum seekers in the US, ahead of citizens from China, Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. It’s the first time Venezuelans have topped the list.
Carolina sold her business and her car in Venezuela and used the money to buy plane tickets for her family. The leftover money was rationed out to buy a small car and for a deposit on an apartment.
“We know we are starting from zero” she said, “it is a very difficult time and I have a lot of sadness in my heart for the things I left behind in Venezuela, but for my children, it is all worth it.”
Carolina and her family have been in the United States for less than a month. Once they file their asylum applications, Carolina and her husband will then need to wait 150 days before they can request a work permit.
In the meantime, she said she stays up at night talking to her husband about money, and how little of it they have left.
However, Carolina knows her family is lucky to have had the tourist visas that allowed them to come into the US.”
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Read the complete story with more “individual portraits” at the link. This shows another hole in the Trump “border deterrence” theory: most Venezuelans enter the US legally and apply for asylum later on. I had predicted some time ago that Venezuela’s abusive leftist government would soon collapse what had been one of the Hemisphere’s more prosperous and resource rich countries, scattering hundreds of thousands of refugees throughout the Americas!
But, of course, advance planning with other nations for a humanitarian response to refugee emergencies is beyond this Administration. They just keep spouting enforcement and detention, the same failed, yet expensive, so-called “strategies” that have been unsuccessfully tried over and over for the past 50 years.
PWS
06-11-17

After More Than A Decade Of Leftist Misrule, Once Prosperous Venezuela Is Crumbling In A Violent Dance Of Death And Disorder — Refugees Will Be Fanning Out Across The Americas

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2017/01/09/caracas-by-day-torments-and-by-night-terrifies/

“Venezuela is a country that seems to be at war with itself. It’s not always clear who is who. It’s hard to know who to trust or who your enemy is, so you’re always looking over your shoulder, waiting for the next blow, unsure of where it will come from. Violence has so saturated life here that people have begun to see it as normal.

Most of the time, the people who are supposed to protect are the ones who harm civilians. The police and the military are without a doubt involved in kidnapping, extortion and even robbery. One night, a couple of photographers and I go with the police on a night patrol. It quickly becomes obvious that they were putting on a show for us. But after the patrol, I see two plainclothes officers interrogating a couple of guys outside a liquor store, slapping them when they give answers they didn’t like.”

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Lots of pictures in the full story at the link.  Very sad story.  What’s our response going to be when refugees show up here?

PWS

01/13/17

From Haven to Hell: Venezuela On The Verge Of Collapse After Years Of Bad Government — Neighbors Brace For Humanitarian/Refugee Crisis!

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2017/01/hungry-venezuelans-flood-brazilian-towns-as-threat-of-mass-migration-looms.html

“Oil-rich Venezuela has been an immigrant destination for much of its history. Now it is a place to flee. Chronic food shortages, rampant violence and the erratic and often paranoid behavior of President Nicolás Maduro have turned the country’s border crossings and beaches into escape valves.”

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I’ve blogged about this unfolding humanitarian disaster before.  Go over to ImmigrationProf Blog and the Washington Post at the link to read more.

PWS

01/04/17

Will Venezuela Be Our Next Refugee “Crisis?” (Editorial From the Washington Post)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/venezuela-is-lurching-closer-and-closer-to-chaos/2016/12/26/63af5186-c79c-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html?utm_term=.ff4bd310ec6a

I wouldn’t be surprised.  Maybe our Government should be thinking about how to handle another humanitarian flow now, instead of waiting for a “crisis” to develop.

PWS

12/27/16