Andres Mejer: Today we got a great program we’re going to talk about three things. First we’re going to talk about stories around the country people being detained by by ICE what happened how could it have been prevented. Things to be concerned about. Second we’re going to talk about what happens. So in the past we had discussed what to do to prevent an ICE arrest. Today we’re going to talk about what happens when you’re detained by ICE. What happens if you have an order deportation. What happens if you don’t have an order of deportation. So we’re that’s the second they want to talk about in third. What can you do to day to prepare. If you’re worried about being detained by immigration. This is not a know you’re right scenario that we’ve discussed before. What to do in the event of ICE contact, no, were going to talk about how to prepare in case you do find yourself in ICE custody. What can you do today
Andres Mejer: My name is Andrés Mejer. I’m a published author speaker and immigration attorney. And today we’re going to start with stories from around the country immigrants who are either afraid of of ICE and decisions that they make or individuals that have gotten detained by ICE and what could they have done or what can they do now. So first we’re going to talk to. We going to talk about Ellie and Fnu. They were detained in Philadelphia. They are from Indonesia. They came in 1998 and immediately filed for asylum.
Andres Mejer: They have two children both born in the United States. The oldest is in college.Now Ellie and Fnu. They’re ethnic Chinese in Indonesia and they’re also Christian. So they are a double minority. Indonesia for those that don’t know predominately Muslim country. Allegedly the largest democratic Muslim country in the world. I say allegedly because you know democracy is, well let’s not get too too too political. Given the state of our democracy here in the United States I don’t think that we’re one to judge someone else’s democracy.
Andres Mejer: But either way they, they were afraid they were being targeted. Life was difficult in Indonesia. They came here they filed for asylum in 2007, it was denied.
Andres Mejer: They appealed. I’m assuming that appeal was also denied. They were ordered deported. ICE picked them up on July 2nd. There’s conversations and text messages and video from people that witnessed them being detained. ICE stopped their car. And once they determined who the parents were they detained both the parents, leaving the children in the car. Now the eldest is an adult so that isn’t in and of itself a problem. She could certainly take her sister who’s a teenager. It’s not like they left a 9 year old and a 5 year old in a car by themselves. That is not what happened. Now why am I telling you this story. How is it different from and from anybody else. Well,
Andres Mejer: You know in April 2019 the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals came down a decision. Liam, the U.S. attorney general, which was the circumstances very s imilar to Ellie and Fnu, Liam was also Indonesian also. Christian filed for asylum.
Andres Mejer: He was denied and was ordered deported. Now he later filed a motion to reopen that order of deportation saying listen come the conditions in my country I’ve only gotten worse they haven’t gotten better in the past 10 years. You know. I am now more afraid today than I was back then. Immigration judge denied it. They appealed to the broader Immigration Appeals Board of Immigration Appeals denied it. The motion to reopen and then it went to the Third Circuit and the Third Circuit said Board Immigration Appeals you can’t just deny. You have to analyze the information.
Andres Mejer: You have to explain the reasons for or against it, because they said it appears like the Board of Immigration Appeals completely ignored the additional documentation that was provided and it was extensive. They overturned that denial. Granted the motion to reopen and remanded to the immigration judge to hold a hearing to determine well is there in fact changed country conditions. So Liam doesn’t automatically win and get asylum or withholding or something like it, he’s still has to,
Andres Mejer: now he just gets his day in court where before he didn’t have it. So Ellie and Fnu can do the same thing that was a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals which is where we we sit with includes New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And it was favorbale. Well, very.
Andres Mejer: favorable. Because they could do the same thing. File a motion to reopen and say country conditions have changed. It’s now more dangerous than it was when I last filed. Think of Venezuela for example if somebody filed for, for asylum 10 years ago. Given the circumstances now complete different. Also Syria, Iraq. There are plenty of places in the world where conditions have gotten worse. In general for just about everybody. They can always get worse for you in your specific scenario. Every case is unique. Second I’m talking about a Mexican woman. She sent her kids to Mexico for a month vacation three U.S. children, 13 , 10 and 9 years old and.
Andres Mejer: they came back with some body. We don’t know who, to enter United States by airport. So this is an adult that had a visa to enter the United States and was bringing her children back. This individual was denied entry. We don’t know why. We don’t know the name and we don’t know why he was denied entry but he was, so Customs Border Patrol, they took the three kids again. They’re under age 13 ,10 and 9, and said listen someone needs to come get you. We can’t just release you release you you’re minors, which is totally appropriate. Now. They reached out to the Mexican consulate, the Mexican consulate reached out to mom and mom.
Andres Mejer: wrote a piece of paper gave someone else permission to go pick them up who is a U.S. citizen and customs when on patrol I said I’m sorry, this is not legally sufficient. I can’t release these children to this individual , anybody could’ve written this, it wansn’t notarized, it wasn’t drafted properly so.
Andres Mejer: Mom ultimately did have to go.
Andres Mejer: And the kids were released to her. She was. She was undocumented and she was afraid that if she went to get her children she would be detained by Customs Border Patrol and the children would be in the same exact scenario. So we can all understand the fear.
Andres Mejer: I can’t imagine what I would do. I’d probably go there. But.
Andres Mejer: You know everyone has to make a different decision. It’s not what. It’s a hard decision to put oneself in and let’s not forget we’re talking about something that happened in a couple hours. So she did try to do the same thing at the end of day she did the right thing. Now why was this individual not admitted.
Andres Mejer: We don’t know but he could’ve had a prior visa overstay. He might have had prior criminal conduct in United States. He might have. Filled out the petition incorrectly or made a misrepresentation which they consider fraud or his answers may have been inconsistent with the visa for example. He comes in as a tourist and they ask him why he come to the states oh and come to work. Automatic denial. He comes and says Oh I’m I’m coming to meet my fiancee. He was the U.S. citizen when we get married. Automatic denial. Why. Because two. Immigrant visa, tourist means you’re here temporarily. And you can’t work.
Andres Mejer: So if you’re working that’s a violation. If you’re now going to get married and your spouse is going to file for you. Well that’s inconsistent with the intent of being here temporarily denying. You know she can file for a fiancee visa. You guys get married she can file for you. So we don’t know why but we just know that he was, now. every airline has a form, that parents can fill out giving authority to someone to travel with their child. Typically it requires requires both parents. But I don’t know what was done in this context. I can only assume something like that was done but it was not found legally sufficient.
Andres Mejer: For whatever reason. I don’t know. Because certainly when the second person came to pick up the children that was a handwritten form wasn’t a form as a handwritten document which was inadequate was prepared by an attorney, wasn’t a power of attorney. It was just. I give so-and-so permission to pick up my kids but it may have been signed by mom and not by dad. So again we don’t have all the details. It is possible to arrange transportation.
Andres Mejer: It is ideal to do it with someone who’s a U.S. citizen a Green Card holder or a family relative. That’s the ideal scenario. Anything less. Yeah. The process has to be rock solid. Or here’s what happens. Person gets denied visa and then you have to scramble and someone has to go pick up your kids. Now if it was my kids that probably I’d be at the airport. You know that that’s the bottom line. I would have been at the airport waiting for them.
Andres Mejer: So that’s scenario number two scenario number three Trevor James. He was arrested by ICE despite having a Green Card June 5th 2019 ICE came to his job in Raleigh North Carolina and took him to a detention center in Atlanta Georgia. That is the worst court in the entire country. They deny the overwhelming majority of cases. There is one judge Angela Greenness that in five years had 200 trials and denied every single one. I don’t know how she can stay. I don’t know how she hasn’t been reversed. I don’t know how she keeps a position when that’s, I mean I can’t imagine out of 200.
Andres Mejer: None of them had a viable case. Now Travers from Trinidad. He entered the U.S. on a student visa. He applied it was approved for a Green Card likely due to his marriage. None of the articles I read actually says it says he had an immigration attorney who was helping him remove conditions on his Green Card, well removed conditions on his Green Card tells me that he had a..
Andres Mejer: his marriage was less than two years and he likely never filed timely to remove the conditions on that Green Card. None of the articles mentioned his wife. So I assume he’s separated from his wife. What likely happened is after the two years, so got his Green Card within 90 days before the two year anniversary, he should have filed to remove the condition of his Green Card showing that is still a legitimate marriage. So he either was a joint petition they filed together and are still together or they’re divorced.
Andres Mejer: he’s falling on his own in saying he entered to the marriage in good faith but it didn’t work out. Or third he entered the marriage in good faith but he suffered extreme cruelty. His wife was abusive verbally physically or otherwise and he needed to get himself out of that relationship. He needed to do one of those three things. He didn’t do any of them and because he didn’t do that is likely why ICE picked them up. But it gets worse. He’s been detained for six weeks and still hasn’t seen a judge.
Andres Mejer: He was also just advised that he was quarantined because of a measles outbreak which means another 30 days in jail. So he’s going to be over two months detained with a Green Card no indication of a criminal record just because he didn’t file timely paperwork. Situation that could have been avoided. Ellie and Fnu could have filed to try to reopen it. Trevor just need to file the prove that his marriage was legitimate even if it’s no longer current.
Andres Mejer: Moral of the story is you need to be prepared. You need to fight for your right to stay. Because if you don’t you may not get a second shot.