February 2009-Asylum News
The Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act of 2009 is Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives On February 26, 2009, Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-34th/CA) introduced the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act of 2009 (IOFA). IOFA addresses the direst problems present in the immigration detention system by enhancing due process protections and options for release so that vulnerable migrant populations, including asylum seekers, are not detained unnecessarily. It also expands and clarifies alternatives to detention and requires DHS to promulgate regulations to create enforceable detention standards. Click here to read more on immigration detention. President Obama Nominates John Morton as Assistant Secretary for ICE and Secretary Napolitano Names More Leadership Positions at DHS On February 23, 2009, President Obama announced John Morton, a former Department of Justice prosecutor with experience in counterterrorism and immigration, as the nominee to head Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), the bureau within DHS that is responsible for removals and operates the immigration detention system. John Morton will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he can assume this position. DHS Secretary Napolitano has filled a number of other key positions, including naming Esther Olavarria as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Dora Schriro as the Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal, Ivan Fong as General Counsel, and David A. Martin as Principal Deputy General Counsel. Click here for more information about DHS nominations and appointments. Eric H. Holder, Jr. is Confirmed as Attorney General by the U.S. Senate On February 3, 2009 Eric H. Holder, Jr. was sworn in as Attorney General. Holder’s confirmation hearing was held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 15, 2009. After being confirmed, Holder named Kevin Ohlson, the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), as his Chief of Staff. The Obama Administration continues to announce nominees for other high-level Department of Justice positions. Click here for more information about Eric H. Holder, Jr. The New Museum Hosts Exhibit: “Conversations About Iraq: It Is What It Is” The New Museum in New York City is hosting an exhibit now through March 22nd by Jeremy Deller, entitled, “Conversations About Iraq: It Is What It Is.” Through bringing together newly arrived refugees from Iraq, U.N. employees, former soldiers, academics, archeologists, advocates, and others, this exhibit intends to spark conversation about the current situation in Iraq. Ruthie Epstein, the Project Coordinator for the Human Rights First Lifeline for Iraqi Refugees project, will be one of the experts featured in the exhibition. See here for more information about the exhibition: After March 22nd, the exhibit will go on tour. See link for locations and schedule.