U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), in a civil rights complaint, is alleged to overlook, ignore or block refugees from claiming asylum in the U.S. Often without a hearing or proper screening people are deported through the expedited removal process, even when they express fear of persecution and seek asylum in the U.S.
Authentic asylum seekers are blacklisted when they are improperly removed.
When an immigrant arrives in the U.S., they may seek asylum and, if eligible, they may be allowed to remain in the U.S. pending the outcome of their application. One of the eligibility requirements is that the individual has not previously been subject of a removal order. If CBP is deporting immigrants with authentic asylum pleas, they will later be blocked from admission to the U.S. because they will not be eligible because of their removal order, even if it is not warranted and was issued in mistake or neglect.
There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution. All nine of them were deported without hearings, were subject to renewed persecution in their country of origin and when they returned to the U.S. they were determined ineligible because of their prior removal. These individuals now are in the status of withholding of removal, and are subject to removal orders which the government agrees to withhold indefinitely.
The civil rights complaint calls for increased officer training and oversight.
In the civil rights complaint filed on November 13th with the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, identifies CBP officers regularly thwarting the current systems and processes are the southern border officers where many Central Americans arrive in the U.S. after fleeing gangs, violence and persecution. In a statement by Keren Zwick, managing attorney for Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center reported, “CBP officers have tremendous power over the fate of people who come to our borders seeking refuge, and what comes a corresponding obligation to ensure our government does not deport anyone back to countries where they may be persecuted or tortured…Unfortunately many officers abuse that power.”
People who come to the U.S. to seek asylum often leave countries where they face persecution for their race, political, religious, sexual and other beliefs and associations. In cases, the asylum seekers fear torture and death. The single act of fleeing to the U.S. can cause serious problems for deported immigrants not able to seek asylum.
The complaint, prepared with the input from a significant collection of human rights groups and lawyers, requests that the DHS civil rights office make the following recommendations to CBP:
- Train CBP officers to ensure they understand the agency’s asylum screening requirements and are sensitive to the circumstances of recently arrived asylum seekers.
- Improve oversight to ensure officers comply with proper asylum screening procedures during the expedited removal process.
- Reinforce to CBP officers that they are not responsible for adjudicating individuals’ asylum claims, but must refer individuals who express a fear of persecution to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Office.
While this complaint is reviewed for consideration, many look to Capitol Hill awaiting action on immigration reform by President Obama’s executive order or an act by Congress that would fix the current outdated and broken system of immigration law and policy.
Immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently represents asylum applicants at Asylum offices and immigration courts and can help asylum applicants at any part of the immigration process. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.