Lengthy detention policy for asylees, redux

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

On January 20, 2013, I wrote of of ICE’s de facto lengthy detention of asylum seekers. When an alien approaches the border and asks for asylum, the normal procedure is that he or she be arrested and detained until two things happen. First he or she must be interviewed by an asylum officer for a “credible fear interview.” If he or she passes this interview, then ICE will make a custody determination – evaluating documentation provided by the detainee about his or her identity, family ties, and the family’s ability to support the asylum-seeker and then deciding whether or not to release him or her.

Here is the chronology of a recent case:

1. October 2, 2012 – alien requests asylum at the border and is arrested;

2. February 6, 2013 –ICE provided with documentation to make a custody determination (before the credible fear intervew to save time);

3. February 7, 2013 – credible fear interview takes place;

4. February 27, 2013 – decision finding a credible fear exists served on the alien;

5. March 12, 2013 – a decision is made to release the alien upon paying a bond;

6. March 13, 2013 – family posts a bond and the alien released to the street in the evening.

It took 4 months and 5 days from arrest to a credible fear interview.

It took 20 days for a credible fear decision to be made after the interview.

It took 14 days for a decision on custody to be made.

It took 5 months and 11 days from the asylum seeker’s arrest to his release with ZERO days attributable to the asylum seeker.

Remember, the alien is an asylum seeker – not a criminal – and all this was transpiring during a period when the media was reporting about the “wanton” release of detainees by ICE in anticipation of the Sequestor. There has to be a better way. Posted March 17, 2013.


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