Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The sadness of the season

It is the greatest time of year, and I should be thinking about my wonderful family, and my fortunate life here in Tampa. Yet I sit in my office frustrated to the maximum because I have a non-criminal alien client (from Canada) who remains in jail almost 60 days after I filed a motion to reopen his immigration case. My client was deported because he did not report for court more than five years after his application for permanent residence was denied. In most cases, this long delay between denial and entry into proceedings has been found to violate the alien's rights. I expected this case will be reopened.

The delay is partly the fault of a recent move by the Orlando immigration court. My clients immigration file was sent to Orlando, but to the wrong address. From there the file returned to central storage, and it has not been seen since. The chief administrator of the court is aware of the problem and is working to get that file so that I get my client out of jail.

But I cannot help thinking, how many other people, with no criminal record, are sitting in immigration detention facilities right now, at a time when they should be with their family and friends. Conspiracy theorists may believe that these non-criminals are in jail because the US government has jailers to pay, and without people (even non-criminals) in jail, there is no need for the jailers.

Merry Christmas.

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