Notes from New Jersey AILA Chapter Meeting 1/26/2010 -
Speakers for US Customs and Border Protection:
Paula Heacock, Branch Chief, Enforcement Operations
Louis Mejia, Supervisor for Admissibility Issues
Kevin Donohue, Deputy Chief, Criminal Enforcement
Arriving Aliens with Convictions
Kevin Donohue spoke about deferred inspection and expedited removal of arriving aliens. He explained that CBP receives a list of individuals on a flight when it leaves an airport abroad. In the time that it takes for the flight to get to the US, using technology, CBP can get a record of conviction from the courthouse. Accordingly, arriving aliens with criminal convictions can be immediately placed in expedited removal proceedings. This is an improvement from the past when the alien would be placed into deferred inspection and told to return with a copy of the conviction. Under that system, many aliens were simply failing to show up at the deferred inspection. The expedited removal option that CBP is exercising with greater frequency has alleviated the burden placed on the deferred inspection system.
Mandatory Detention for Post-1998 Convictions
Officer Donohue pointed out that the law provides for mandatory detention with post-1998 convictions (Section 236(c)). Individuals with these convictions get detained in all cases. Thereafter, NTAs are sent to the General Counsel for legal sufficiency. The General Counsel for CBP is located at 1 Penn Plaza in Manhattan. Consideration will be given to humanitarian needs such as whether the individual is a sole provider for children, and whether he/she has health issues. This procedure is based on a program that was piloted in Atlanta and Miami.
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