Sunday, March 29, 2009

Congressman Conyers Questions ICE Illegal Arrests and Beatings

A story on March 28, 2009 by Gregg Krupa of The Detroit News titled Conyers Rips Deportations describes how over 1,200 people including three members of Congress called for immigration reform at a rally on March 27 as part of a 20-city tour that highlights the failure of immigration reform and the harm caused by increased enforcement.

Congressman John conyers said that there are "ICE people who are beating up people and arresting people for no good reason." He also said that "We ought to take them out and check them out, right off the bat. And guess what? That is exactly what I am going to do in hearings beginning on Wednesday. Congressman Conyers is chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

This would not be the first Congressional hearing about illegal ICE raids and illegal ICE conduct. The growing proof of widespread Fourth Amendment violations by ICE bolsters the legal argument to suppress evidence by using the legal test that the United States Supreme Court announced in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984)! That decision focused on INS policies in 1984 -- something very different from ICE policies today.

Several lawyers are raising this argument in immigration court, with the BIA, and with circuit courts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Man Sentenced For Taking Bribes While A Senior ICE Official

According to an Associated Press story, federal district court judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr. sentenced Roy Bailey to three years and one month in prison for taking bribes while the senior official in Detroit for detaining and transporting immigrants for ICE (and for INS before it split up into new agencies including ICE). He was the senior official in Detroit from 1999 to 2004.

The newspaper reports explain that Mr. Bailey admitted accepting gifts including $5,000 in meals and $5,000 in casino chips and in exchange for bribes, he would delay deportation proceedings and release certain detainees.

We hear much about the need to crack down on fraud in the immigration process. I wonder whether people who worry about immigration fraud are exaggerating the problem, but this news story suggests perhaps there should be a reason to be concerned about fraud by immigration officials. However, just because one senior official was found guilty and sentenced to jail does not mean everyone at ICE is doing something wrong.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Florida Woman Helping Police Investigate Crime Turned Over For Deportation

Rita Cote is an immigrant in Tavares, Florida who spent two weeks in detention and is now threatened with deportation after helping the police investigate a crime.

Tavares Police came to a house to investigate a criminal issue -- an altercation between Rita Cote's sister and the sister's boyfriend. She was trying to help the police by giving language interpretation between the police and her sister. The police ended up not arresting the sister's boyfriend and instead arresting Rita Cote, the woman helping them investigate the possible crime. They held Ms. Cote (who is married to a United States citizen and the mother of three United States citizen children) for more than a week before handing them to ICE, which continued to hold her in detention.

ICE released her after around two weeks after the local police first arrested her and ICE started a case in immigration court in Orlando, Florida. News coverage of the case include a story by Victor Manuel Ramos in the Orlando Sentinel titled Immigration Mother Returns To Family While Deportation Case is Heard, which was printed on March 5, 2009.

The case is reminiscent in some ways of a New Jersey immigrant who called local police and successfully helped the local police investigate a crime and catch the criminals, but then turned the informant over to ICE for deportation. In that case, ICE pursued deportation and obtained a deportation order, which ICE continued to pursue before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Third Circuit. ICE continues its efforts to deport the crime informant in New Jersey, despite requests to consider how local police turned over a crime informant.

It appears from the NJ case that ICE actively seeks to deport crime witnesses and crime informants. We'll see from the Florida case whether ICE continues to try to deport immigrants who help the police investigate crimes. There is a good reason that immigrants are afraid to call the police to help them fight crime and catch criminals.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Newark, NJ Immigration Court Closed March 2, 2009 Due To Weather

I believe that the immigration court in Newark, NJ is closed on Monday, March 2, 2009 due to weather. It is a weather closure because of snowy conditions today.