Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08021560 (posted Feb. 15, 2008)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, February 14, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law for its oversight hearing yesterday regarding the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) interrogation, detention and removal practices.
"Testimony from two U.S. citizens and several advocates about allegations of misconduct, including warrantless raids, unlawful detentions, and erroneous deportations, raises deep concerns," said AILA President, Kathleen Campbell Walker. A teenage girl, Marie Justeen Mancha, testified that agents entered her house and questioned her without a warrant even though no one in her family was suspected of any crime or immigration violation. Several witnesses highlighted serious due process violations, including mistaken imprisonment and deportation of U.S. citizens, the mentally ill, and other vulnerable individuals.
While AILA commends the Department of Homeland Security for implementing a series of reforms including guidance regarding humane treatment of sole caretakers, nursing mothers and other vulnerable individuals encountered during raids, AILA urges the agency to cooperate with Congress in implementing reforms that will ensure detainees and individuals encountered during raids are treated humanely.
"Our government should ensure that the tenets of due process that underpin American society are respected," stated Ms. Walker. "The House Immigration Subcommittee's hearing yesterday showcases the serious errors and rights violations that can occur because of the inadequate due process protections in our immigration system. It is in the highest national interest that we transform our immigration system into one that upholds due process, promotes law and order, and confronts the human and economic reality of millions of undocumented workers in America."
AILA urges Congress to strengthen due process protections in our immigration laws in order to prevent violations like the ones highlighted in yesterday's hearing. In the interim, AILA calls on DHS to ensure that the rights of immigrant workers are protected, and that appropriate attention is paid to the safety and welfare of immigrant children and their families.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. For more information call George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Annie Wilson at 202-216-2435