Modification of Policy Towards Mexican/Central American Detainees


Some relief is being given towards the Mexican/Central American undocumented immigrant families, most of who entered the country in the summer surge of 2014 and have been detained ever since. The new 6/24/15 policy announcement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on detention of Mexican/Central American detainees in family residential centers says that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will be offering release with an appropriate monetary bond or other condition of release to families in residential centers who are successful in stating a case of credible or reasonable fear of persecution in their home countries. Further that he has approved criteria from the ICE director for establishing a family’s bond amount at a level that is reasonable and realistic, taking into account the ability to pay, while also encompassing risks of flight and public safety. He is also directing U.S.C.I.S. to conduct credible fear and reasonable fear interviews within a reasonable timeframe and noted that in substance, the detention of families will be short-term in most cases. Besides the fact that these modifications do not answer most of the problems faced by the people affected, however, questions remain as to how quickly the policy will be enacted and the level of cooperation that Sec. Johnson will receive from ICE officers in terms of timing and interpretation on bond and credible fear matters.

Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. Alan Lee is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Director, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof (its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004); and his 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the AAO set nation-wide standards on the definition of “doing business” for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.

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