March 2009-Asylum News

House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Holds a Hearing on “Health Services for Detainees in U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Custody” On March 3, 2009, the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee held a hearing to examine health care at immigration detention facilities. The hearing was prompted by repeated reports of ICE’s failure to provide adequate medical care to detainees in its custody, resulting in several instances of preventable detainee deaths. Witnesses included, Dora Schriro, Special Advisor on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Detention & Removal; Jim Hayes, Director, Office of Detention and Removal Operations at ICE; Jose Rodriguez, Director, Division of Immigrant Health Services at ICE, and Alicia Puente Cackley, Director, Health Care Issues at the Government Accountability Office. Click here to access the written testimonies of the witnesses Click here for the transcript of the hearing U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision in “Persecutor Bar” Case In its March 3, 2009 decision in the case of Negusie v. Holder, the Supreme Court reversed the decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that the “persecutor bar,” which prohibits granting refugee protection to anyone who “ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution” of another person, applied without regard to whether a refugee’s involvement in acts of persecution were carried out under coercion. The Supreme Court remanded Negusie to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to interpret the “persecutor bar” in the first instance, giving the BIA the opportunity to recognize that the “persecutor bar” applies only to culpable, voluntary acts. Click here to read more USCIS Issues Written Guidance on its Policy for Applying Exemptions for Cases Involving Material Support Provided Under Duress On February 13, 2009 USCIS issued written guidance to explain the policy announced on December 22, 2008 that USCIS would be implementing exemptions for material support provided under duress to all Tier I/II, designated, terrorist organizations in accordance with the same adjudication process applied to Tier III, non-designated, organizations. This process allows for a case-by-case assessment in consideration of the “totality of the circumstances” of whether the support was provided under duress, regardless of the status of the organization to which the individual was forced to provide support. Click here for the February 13, 2009 USCIS memo Symposium at Fordham Law School Addresses the Issue of Legal Representation for Immigrants On March 12, 2009, Refugee Protection Program staff members attended a symposium at Fordham Law School to discuss ideas for increasing quality legal representation at the Immigration Courts and meeting the other unmet legal needs of the immigrant community in the New York City area. It was an event which grew out of an ongoing series of meetings that Judge Robert A. Katzmann has organized at the Second Circuit with nonprofits (including HRF), law professors, attorneys in private practice, judges and others. The goal of the symposium was to bring together an even broader array of people, including local government officials and funders, to open up the discussion to the wider community. Around 200 people attended, including a number of partners from law firms that HRF works with in the pro bono asylum program. Click here to view The New York Times article about the event from March 12, 2009

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Published on July 2, 2010


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