A man who came to the United States with his mother at age two, and who speaks only English is sitting in an immigration prison while appealing an order for his deportation. And, although his mother became a citizen, his eight younger siblings are all citizens, and his wife of 33 years and their four children were all born in California, he never went through the citizenship procedure. So far, the courts have denied his asylum claim.
The problem is that he has two prior drug convictions and a burglary conviction. The convictions make him an ‘aggravated felon’ under federal immigration laws, and thus requires that he face deportation and removal proceedings. In the meantime, during his appeal he may be able to get some time to be with his family if he’s given permission by the court to post a bond pending appeal.
He’s a lifelong Pasadena resident who recently served over eight years on the burglary conviction. There was no violence in any of his offenses. However, when he was set to be released on the burglary charge he was instead sent to the immigration detention facility in Victorville to wait out the outcome of the deportation and removal proceedings.
The Immigration Judge held that the man’s testimony regarding physical torture he suffered when he went back to his native Mexico on two prior occasions was credible and believable. However, she held that he had not met his burden of proving that he’ll suffer torture in Mexico by or with the consent or acquiescence of the Mexican government. To make matters worse, federal law provides no representation for detainees, so that he has no immigration counsel and must argue for himself.
Criminal defendants in California and federal courts are by law provided with an attorney if they don’t have one or cannot afford one, but that doesn’t apply to people appearing in US Immigration Court. A reasonable immigration policy should assign appellate counsel to the man for this critical appeal of the asylum and other issues. For the present, the bottom line is that the man’s fate appears to be in the hands of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Source: Pasadena Weekly, “Former Pasadena gang counselor fights for bond while appealing recent deportation order,” Kevin Ulrich, June 26, 2013