Thursday, June 12, 2008

More on US Citizen's Removal Proceedings in Georgia


David, not his real name, was born in Mexico in 1973. His father was born in Los Angeles in 1925 and met other criteria consistent with David acquiring citizenship by birth. On March 1, 1989 the US Consular General's office in Mexico issued David a letter from the Vice Consul certifying that David had "proved to the Consulate General that he had acquired citizenship" (from Judge Cassidy's June 11, 2008 decision for ICE to terminate deportation proceedings).

In late 1998 David was incarcerated for a crime that had nothing to do with his citizenship status. In 2006, David was to be released on probation, but ICE had other ideas and put him into deportation proceedings. According to Neil Rambana, David's attorney, David was held for 8 months pending a deportation hearing. In August, 2006, Judge William Cassidy accepted the US Consulate General letter certifying David's US citizenship and terminated the deportation proceedings.

Rambana wrote yesterday: "To our surprise on or about May 12, 2008 I received a notice of hearing for May 19, 2008." Rambana replied immediately and referenced the 2006 termination order.

According to Judge Cassidy's decison yesterday, "On May 13, 2008, based on the evidence submitted by Respondent, the court determined that Respondent acquired United States citizenship at birth. As a result Respondent was improperly in removal proceedings and the court terminated proceedings."

Rambana never received a notice of this May 13 hearing or its decision until yesterday.

According to Judge Cassidy, the Department of Homeland Security appealed his second termination order and the Bureau of Immigration Appeals remanded the case back to Cassidy for a written decision. Rambana was flummoxed: he never received a notice of either the May 13 termination order proceedings or an appeal. The first he heard of this was the decision he received late yesterday afternoon, June 11, when Judge Cassidy, for apparently a third time, told ICE to stop its removal proceedings against a US citizen.

David remains incarcerated. Yesterday he was transferred to Wilcox Prison. The reason for the current incarceration and the transfer to a new facility also is not clear at this point; it appears to be based on a probation violation. Mr. Rambano is trying to meet with his client to ascertain these details.

The lesson here, once again, is that ICE is relentless in its persecution of US citizens of Mexican descent, and it is incompetent, a dangerous combination. It is still necessary to ascertain the basis for the dates and decisions Judge Cassidy is referencing, to ensure that these occurred in the order stated and were not written post hoc in response to attorney Neil Rambana's publicization of his client's predicament yesterday.

The image above is a plaque commemorating an 1818 battle between the Telfair County Militia and the Creek Indians in modern Wilcox. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Wilcox County was named after either Mark or John Wilcox, both of whom were officers who fought in the Indian Wars. Wilcox experienced some hard times, but, the Encyclopedia continues, "The population started to climb again in the 1990s, when the Georgia Department of Corrections built Wilcox State Prison." This is where David is presently being held. Previous posts based on information from his attorney indicated David was being held in Lumpkin, Georgia but the dates on this are not clear at this point and that may need to be revised.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prof. Stevens,

I have a question -- in lieu of comment -- How is "legally" possible to hold someone under ICE/DHS custody (without a new detainer (Form I‑286 --Notice of Custody Determination), if the IJ officially terminated removal proceedings?

David was kept in jail under what provision(s), if any? (beyond the fact that he should not have been placed under removal proceedings to start with).

Law student

Anonymous said...

Prof. Stevens,

I have a question -- in lieu of comment -- How is "legally" possible to hold someone under ICE/DHS custody (without a new detainer (Form I‑286 --Notice of Custody Determination), if the IJ officially terminated removal proceedings?

David was kept in jail under what provision(s), if any? (beyond the fact that he should not have been placed under removal proceedings to start with).

Law student

jacqueline stevens said...

Unlike criminal cases, in deportation proceedings if the government loses it has 30 days to file an appeal; while the case is being appealed, ICE continues to have custody of the detainee, which is why a lot of US citizens falsely state they're not US citizens--they've served time in prison and they just want out. I'm not sure about the legal status of the respondent during this period and I think it explains why ICE had a hard time finding a jail that would hold David -- they kept shuffling him around. I'll ask someone who knows more about this and update this later.

 
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