Friday, July 12, 2024

Immigration Officials Accused of Illegally Deporting Asylum Seekers

In New Orleans, a national civil rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), is accusing immigration officials of deporting asylum-seekers without properly following the lawful process. They filed a complaint against the New Orleans Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) field office.

According to SPLC attorneys, some deportations are happening before asylum-seekers can get a hearing before a judge, or while a review of their case or appeal is pending. However, in accordance with federal law, a person who’s fearful of returning to their country can’t be deported until they’ve had an interview with an asylum officer. The law also prohibits them from being removed while any appeal is pending.

Mich Gonzalez, a SPLC attorney along other attorneys, say they have scattered cases over the years where an asylum-seeker was mistakenly deported and often returned when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) realized they made a mistake.

“But seeing this many cases in a six-month span is unprecedented, and in these recent cases, DHS and ICE are aware and everyone is washing their hands” Gonzalez states.

In a statement, ICE insisted that it administers a thorough review of cases before removing anyone from the U.S. “ensure due process has been afforded and that they are not eligible for any additional form of relief at the time of removal.”