Friday, February 2, 2007

Detention, Detention, Detention in Texas

There is lots of news on the detention of immigrants in Texas.

Click here and here for news on one developing story.  Attorneys for members of a Palestinian family held for three months at immigrant detention centers in Haskell and Taylor, Texas on Thursday petitioned federal district courts to order their immediate release, saying that there is no legal basis for the government to hold them and that continued detention is unconstitutional. The lawyers filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus in Dallas on behalf of Salaheddin Ibrahim, and in Austin for his wife, Hanan, who is five months' pregnant, and four of their children. According to attorneys Joshua Bardavid and Theodore Cox of New York, the Ibrahims entered the United States legally on or about Sept. 30, 2001, with visas and temporary Jordanian-issued passports. Shortly afterward, they filed applications for asylum, alleging long histories of deaths, beatings and violence in their Palestinian villages by Israeli forces. On Jan. 15, 2003, an immigration judge denied the requests and ordered the Ibrahims deported. But Bardavid said the government never issued a letter ordering the family to report for removal. Federal immigration agents apprehended them at their Richardson home in a midnight raid Nov. 3. Bardavid said federal statutes prohibit the government from detaining someone six months after the date they were ordered removed unless it can be proved that the person is exceptionally dangerous — "and that is certainly not the case here" — or that removal is imminent.

POSTCRIPT  On Feb. 2, the BIA granted the Ibrahims a motion to repen theeproceedinsg on their asylum claim because of changed conditions on the West Bank.  For a number of links to information about the case, click here.

Dan Kowalski writes (here) about one group protesting the Ibrahims' detention -- Texans United for Families.  TUFF is "an umbrella organization made up of advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Grassroots Leadership Initiative, League of United Latin American Citizens, and Texas Civil Rights Project."Families

The Washington Post (here) has a story on a new detention policy in Texas.  Ringed by barbed wire, a futuristic tent city rises from the Rio Grande Valley in the remote southern tip of Texas, the largest camp in the federal detention system. About 2,000 undocumentedl immigrants, part of a record 26,500 held across the United States by federal authorities, will call the 10 giant tents home for weeks, months and perhaps years before they are removed from the United States and sent back to their home countries. The $65 million tent city, built hastily last summer between a federal prison and a county jail, marks both the success and the limits of the government's new policy of holding captured non-Mexicans until they are sent home. Previously, most such detainees were released into the United States before hearings, and a majority simply disappeared. The new policy has led to a dramatic decline in border crossings by non-Mexicans, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

It is well-known that, since 1996, detention has increased dramatically as a part of U.S. immigration policy.  Among others, Law Professor Margaret Taylor has written some excellent articles on detention.


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