Our nation’s current policy on immigration reform and the treatment
of refugees is not just disappointing; it is directly opposed to the founding
principles and the most enduring values of our nation.
Today, yes today, the United States of America maintains the largest system
of immigrant detention camps of any nation on the planet. Not North Korea,
not Yemen, not the People’s Republic of China, but us. The People
of the United States.
Have we not learned the lessons of our shameful internment of Japanese
Americans, of Irish immigrants, of our turning away of those fleeing the
Holocaust in Nazi Germany?
One year ago, the American Bar Association put forward
recommendations for addressing this injustice:
1) Immediately release families held at the Berks, Dilley, and Karnes
family detention facilities, cease expansion of the facilities, and do
not renew their contracts for family detention;
2) Permanently abandon deterrence-based detention policies;
3) Adopt a presumption against detention and treat release into the community
as the general rule, particularly in the case of families, children, and
4) When release into the community alone is insufficient, employ an objective
risk assessment to identify the least restrictive means of achieving the
goals of ensuring appearance at hearings and protection of the community,
using electronic monitoring and cash bonds only where demonstrably necessary
in individual cases;
5) Establish and adhere to clear standards of care that include unique
provisions for families and children that do not follow a penal model; and
6) Ensure meaningful access to legal information and representation for
all families subjected to detention at every stage of their immigration
One year later, none of these recommendations have been followed. And the
internment of immigrant and refugee families continues with little to
no due process.
The truth is deportation rates increase as legal representation declines.
Without effective counsel, the population of the internment camps grows
and expands. More and more families are interned and detained for months
and months. And all of this is done in our name.
Imagine escaping war-like conditions — or war itself — and
undertaking the difficult journey of traveling to the United States only
to be detained at length behind barbed wire fences.
Women and children are dealt the hardest blow.
a report released in July 2015, the chances of women and children being granted asylum increase fourteen
times when they have proper legal representation. Yet, women and children
only acquire representation 14 percent of the time, whereas individuals
are represented 45 percent of the time.
Just a few months ago, an American immigration judge under oath claimed
that he has been able to teach three and four-year-old refugee children
— who do not speak English — how to represent themselves in
Are you kidding me?!
These children have fled death gangs in their own countries to seek refuge
and asylum in the United States. And our response has been to lock them
up and return many of them to these death gangs without the same benefit
of counsel that most Americans receive in court when charged with driving
on a suspended license.
This is an outrage and should shock the conscience of all Americans.
This is unconscionable, unjust, and un-American.
The enduring symbol of our country is not the barbed wire fence; it is
the Statue of Liberty.
It is time we act like it.
See blog post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gov-martin-omalley/our-immigration-policy-is_b_9876288.html
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Immigration attorneys located in Miami, Florida
The Miami immigration lawyers at Revilla Law Firm, P.A., offer quality
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Antonio G. Revilla III is a Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor and a Miami
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Call (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323