Friday, January 9, 2009

The Bush Justice Department and the Immigrant

In the last days of the Bush administration the Justice Department has released two decrees that infringe on the rights of immigrants. Attorney General Michael B.Mukasey ruled that immigrants who received a deportation judgment from an immigration court -- which are administrative law courts under Justice -- have no right to appeal because of errors or incompetent representation by their lawyers. The rule was rushed through before Barack Obama's inauguration, apparently because his Justice Department would be more inclined to allow appeals. (See NY Times article.)

The other action by Justice was to allow collecting DNA samples from immigrants. These, along with other categories expanded by the department, would go into a national database and be "used to fight crime." Immigration advocates and civil libertarians will challenge the Justice Department's action in federal court as an invasion of privacy. (See LA Times article.)

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