What is Project Streamline?
Project Streamline is a program implemented by the Border Patrol Agency in 2005, which calls for the criminal prosecution of those who come to this country illegally. This means that rather than simply being deported; they will face criminal charges and serve time in American prisons. This is done as an attempt to discourage immigrants from coming to this country illegally, as they will fear facing this jail time. This program works by referring non-citizens to the U.S Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, where they are encouraged to plead guilty. They will then be deported after serving jail time. This process was nicknamed streamline justice, and this is where the program received its name. So far over 279,000 noncitizens have been referred to the U.S. Attorney through this program, and as of June 2014 over 3,500 people were being referred a month.
Does Project Streamline violate any International Laws?
In a recent report prepared by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that this process violate treaties that the United States signed In 1968, the United States accepted a United Nations protocol named the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. This protocol says requires United Nations countries to treat refugees in a proscribed manner. Section 31 of this protocol prohibits member countries from imposing criminal penalties on illegal immigrants people who seek a better life. By criminally convicting illegal immigrant’s, the United States is violating this section of the protocol.
So what does Section 31 actually mean for the US?
The United Nations has said that countries cannot throw someone in jail or fine them just because they come to a country illegally. The argument is since project streamline does just this it, thus, illegal. The question becomes what is the motivation behind project streamline. Are these people criminally prosecuted simply because they came here illegally, or is there another reason? The OIG found that most of the time project streamline was used for the sole purpose of punishing those that came to this country illegally. This means that in most of the cases where project streamline is used, it is violating this treaty.
Has the OIG Report changed anything?
Since the publishing of this report states using project streamline, such as Texas, have started finding a separate reason to prosecute illegal re-entry. The Border Patrol Agency did try to make some changes to the policies they were implementing. Unfortunately, they still prosecute people under project streamline, and this practice shows no signs of being eliminated.
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- Do You Qualify for Legal Status? If you aren’t legal in the U.S. you owe it to yourself to find out if you can get legal status. Select the link, answer the questions, and find out for FREE.
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- An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court Here I discuss what happens if you get arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement, what you need to know to get out of custody, and what to expect if you are placed in removal hearings. I also explain the municipal court process and how a municipal court matter can result in your being placed into removal proceedings.
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