US Border Service issues fake subpoenas not letting immigrants granted asylum into the country - ForumDaily
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US Border Service issues fake subpoenas, not allowing immigrants granted asylum into the country

In recent weeks, at least 4 people have been sent back to Mexico after being granted asylum in the United States. All of them received fake subpoenas designed to prevent those who obtained the legal right to enter the country from entering the United States.

Фото: Depositphotos

On November day, Francisco left a temporary shelter in which he spent 4 months to go to the nearest port of entry to the United States, says BuzzFeed. Francisco was one of more than 50 000 asylum seekers forced to wait in Mexico due to a controversial rule from the Trump administration. His case went through immigration courts. But he and his lawyers were optimistic that his long journey from Cuba to defense in the United States was almost over.

A few weeks earlier, 25-year-old Francisco was allowed to leave Mexico's Nuevo Laredo for a temporary secret court created by the Trump administration in Laredo, Texas. He and his lawyers handed over their case via videoconference to immigration judge Eric Ticherina, who had contacted San Antonio.

Francisco told the court how he left Cuba after government officials beat him and shackled him for criticizing the Cuban government as a "dictatorship." As a Cuban dissident, Francisco dreamed of living in the United States, a country whose democratic system and values ​​he admired from afar.

On November 10, Francisco received a decision from Ticherina: he was granted asylum.

What happened next has immigration lawyers worried and appears to be a new trend. With his court order in hand, Francisco traveled four days later with his lawyer to the port of entry - the same place where he first applied for asylum in July. He handed the 4-page document to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer and asked to be let in.

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Instead, a Border Patrol agent pulled Francisco aside and gave him a notice of a non-existent court date in January, according to one of his lawyers, Lisa Koop. What's more, Francisco will also have to wait in Mexico as Homeland Security officials used their allotted 30-day window to decide whether to appeal his case.

"He was confused, anxious, upset - the prospect of staying in Mexico seemed very unsafe," Koop said, describing Francisco's state of mind after he was denied entry into the United States.

When a BuzzFeed News reporter called the Department of Justice to confirm the hearing date set by Francisco, the automatic telephone line reported that the hearing date was not actually set.

Francisco, who asked that his full name not be used because of his precarious position in Mexico, is not alone. Koop said that in recent weeks, at least three other people, all Venezuelans, were also denied the opportunity to remain in the U.S. after being granted asylum. All were under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump administration policy that keeps asylum seekers in Mexico as their immigration cases continue. All three — one adult man and a woman and her son — were granted asylum in Laredo but were later returned to Mexico, Koop said.

On Monday, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan was asked during a press conference whether immigrants really return to Mexico after winning their asylum cases. He seemed confused, saying: "This should not be."

However, a CBP spokesperson said that when appealing against an immigration judge’s decision, “the immigration proceedings are ongoing and individuals can be returned to Mexico pending appeal”.

“The government's conduct in this and other cases reveals MPP's true intent, which is to simply end the ability to obtain asylum for all peoples in all circumstances,” Koop said. “This is a Cuban dissident who has been granted asylum and is not being allowed in—that removes any ambiguity about the motives of this program.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is holding those in the U.S. pending appeal. But experts say keeping immigrants in Mexico is a different matter.

“This is fundamentally wrong. A U.S. immigration court has ruled that this man is a refugee and deserves our protection, said Rebecca Jamil, a former immigration judge in San Francisco. “It feels like CBP is making decisions about a refugee’s safety before the judge.”

The Trump administration has repeatedly referred to the program as an achievement that helped reduce the number of border crossings. But lawyers and lawyers described in detail numerous problems with its implementation.

Last week, Human Rights First detailed how it found more than 600 of publicly reported cases of kidnapping, rape, torture and other violent attacks on asylum seekers and immigrants who returned to Mexico as part of the MPP. The group also found asylum seekers who missed trials in the United States due to kidnapping in Mexico.

Francisco is one of the rare immigrants sent to MPP to seek asylum. At the temporary court in Laredo, most cases are still pending, according to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Center at Syracuse University.

Koop wonders what might happen to other people who are granted asylum but don't have a lawyer - which most asylum seekers in the US don't have.

“It's a completely incomprehensible system - people are faced with the real possibility that they will never be able to get into the United States,” she said.

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In Cuba, Francisco was arrested after listening to music on a national funeral day in connection with the death of Fidel Castro. He was placed in solitary confinement, and then in the interrogation room. There, a government official told Francisco, who was handcuffed to a chair, that he should change his mind about the government, or he would be sent to prison or “disappear,” according to an order written by Ticherina, which was reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

But after Francisco told officers he wouldn't change his views because Cuba was a dictatorship, he was beaten and then handcuffed to the top of his prison cell - his arms above his head - for 24 hours. He was not allowed to go to the toilet; the man urinated on himself.

After 8 days in prison, Francisco began to prepare to leave Cuba once and for all.

Coop recalls how one day after a hearing in a temporary facility in Laredo, she spent an hour getting to know Francisco.

“He talked a lot about his faith in America. He expected him to come to a place where his rights would be respected,” she said.

Coop and other lawyers are still in favor of his entry into the US and are developing a strategy for how to do this.

“He still believes the U.S. is a place he wants to be a part of to make a difference and rebuild his life, but he has had to pay a high price,” she said. “It was truly a harrowing experience that he had to go through.”

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