Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Swift Justice" For Those Swept Up At Potville

When ICE pulled off its largest raid at Potsville, IA. (See post for May 13, 2008), it moved the detained to fair grounds in Waterloo. Not only was the raid and moving swift, the justice was as well. NY Times reports that 290 immigrants have been tried and convicted already. Most had asked for quick deportation, but they get it only after serving a few months for using false documents. The detained were represented by counsel, but many defense and immigration lawyers question the fairness of the process. They suspect some may have had grounds to appeal in immigration court. What was most disturbing in the process was that prosecutors escalated the offense by threatening the immigranta with criminal offenses of identity theft and using false documents. Usually their offense would be civil. The prosecutors demanded some prison time and immediate deportation. It most certainly was meant as a warning.

Meanwhile in California a state-wide sweep has netted over 900 for deportation. The targeted population were those who had ignored orders to leave the country. But in the process of knocking on doors, ICE agents were able to detain anyone in the house found without proper documentation. (See NY Times article.)

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