Civil Rights Complaint: Asylum seekers deported in expedited removal, border patrol officers ignoring policy

There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution.

There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution.

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:

  1. Train CBP officers to ensure they understand the agency’s asylum screening requirements and are sensitive to the circumstances of recently arrived asylum seekers.
  2. Improve oversight to ensure officers comply with proper asylum screening procedures during the expedited removal process.
  3. 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.

Chinese asylum applicant gets a second chance after winning an appeal

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle

A Chinese immigrant, seeking asylum in the U.S. from his claims of religious persecution, will have a second chance at pleading his case to an immigration judge. According to U.S. Department of Justice reports, there were 44,170[i] foreign nationals who applied for asylum in 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available. A granting of asylum would allow them to indefinitely remain, lawfully, on U.S. soil. After being present for one year, they may apply to become a legal permanent resident. The same report indicates that 10,985 (by far the largest percentage) of asylum seekers were from China. Another report by the Human Rights Watch organization explains, “Against a backdrop of rapid socio-economic change and modernization, China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects judicial independence and press freedom; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often through extra-judicial measures.[ii]

Chang Qiang Zhu’s asylum was denied because he failed his “bible quiz” on the story of Paul the Apostle[iii].

The asylum process may include a hearing in an immigration court. In Zhu’s case, the immigration judge quizzed him about the story of Paul the Apostle. Also known as Saint Paul, he is widely considered among the most important Christian apostles who is said to have taught the gospel of Christ in the first century. The immigration judge, Barbara Nelson, is reported to have not believed Zhu’s response to her request to tell her the story of Paul the Apostle, and that he was evasive. Was Zhu honest in his application for asylum and was he in fact a follower of Christian Faith?

Pervasive Christian Faith persecution by the Chinese, along with Zhu’s claims that he was beaten and imprisoned for attending a church not allowed by the Chinese government could, in most cases, be sufficient grounds to apply for asylum protection in the U.S.   To be eligible for asylum, the applicant must establish their reasonable fear of persecution based upon at least one of the following grounds:

–  Race/Ethnicity

–  Religion

–  Nationality

–  Political opinion

–  Membership in a Particular Social Group

Back to the story of Mr. Zhu and his asylum application – his attorney got him a second chance.

The immigration attorney representing Zhu filed an appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals arguing that the judge was wrong for finding that Mr. Zhu was not credible because he may have been unclear about one particular Biblical story. The attorney told a reporter from the NY Daily News, ““You don’t have to know every fact to be a devout Christian…You can be very devout and not know everything. And the Bible doesn’t mandate that you have to know everything.” [iv]” The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, vacated the denial of asylum and Zhu’s application will be reviewed by a new judge. The initial immigration judge in Zhu’s 2009 hearing not only misapplied the law, but she also demonstrated a lack of competence applying her version of the law with a “Bible quiz.”  Fortunately, Zhu had a competent immigration attorney advocating for his rights.

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. For more information about the law firm, please tap/click here to visit the rest of the website, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter or Google Plus.