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Monday, August 4, 2014

Get Out of ICE Detention -- When you have credible fear but remain detained.

Among one of the more perplexing aspects of immigration law is the plight of the arriving alien. Bluntly, an arriving alien without proper paperwork is going to experience a considerable amount of trouble. The procedures for an "undoc" arriving alien (aka smuggled, border jumping, etc.) are contained in 8 CFR 235.3. If the alien claims asylum, then a credible fear interview must be held. Regardless of whether the investigating officer determines fear, or if the an immigration judge later finds credible fear despite the investigating officers determination, the individual who entered the US remains in custody as an arriving alien.

There are three key steps to getting bonded out in a credible fear/arriving alien situation:
  • First, there must be a finding of credible fear by an asylum officer. The credible fear checklist is found at 8 CFR 208.30. For a more in-depth step-by-step application of 208.30, see the USCIS field training manual here.
  • Secondly, if the asylum officer declines to find credible fear, the arriving alien must ask to appear before a judge. The judge will then review the notes of the interviewing officer, discuss the case with DHS counsel and with the counsel for the arriving alien. Note -- you absolutely need an attorney here if you are planning to actual fight this. Although technically, an attorney for the alien exists only to advise the alien during a credibility determination (cannot make representations to the Court), as a practical matter, the judge usually does not question the alien further, but instead looks to the alien's attorney to explain the nexus and why, at law if all facts are properly admitted, this alien will be eligible for asylum. How to handle a credible fear hearings is the subject of a different blog.
  • Finally, if either the judge or the asylum officer has determined there is a credible fear, and that a nexus exists tying the credible fear to a protected class, the arriving alien will be eligible for parole.

Recognize that ICE parole/bond is not the same as an Immigration Court bond . An immigration court has no jurisdiction over arriving aliens (on account of the expedited removal order that is already entered upon an illegal entry into the US -- see 235.3 above). This means that an immigration judge is barred from granting bond. By statute, only ICE has jurisdiction over release of arriving aliens, even if they are placed in removal proceedings.

To obtain parole for a detained alien with a positive credible fear determination, the alien is no longer required to complete the deportation parole worksheet; however, as a practical matter, every alien should request parole and affirmatively ask to complete the worksheet once credible fear has been established. The form has no number, but an example can be found here. This should happen automatically. However, having an attorney complete the paperwork is of critical assistance to ensure no loose ends are left undone. Be sure your attorney informs the DO (deportation officer) or the DRO (detention and removal office) in charge of the alien's case that the presumption is release unless there is an overriding need to keep the alien detained (defined as safeguarding the community or national interest). See the ICE Memorandum on parole and release for more specific legal guidance on this. This memorandum has been key on several occasions to get ICE to "move along" on the parole request.

A few pointers to remember. The DO cannot complete a parole worksheet until credible fear has been established. Also remember that the arriving alien will not be paroled until an NTA (Notice to Appear -- subpoena for immigration court) has been issued with a return to court date. The reason is that once the alien is released on parole -- poof. No more alien. Unless ICE has the alien sign the NTA, there is no proof the alien received notice of the immigration court date, and no way to enforce a removal order if the alien does not show to court. Not going to happen -- ergo, no bond/parole until an NTA with a date certain return is issued. This can take a week or so after a hearing, or usually immediately is credible fear is granted by the asylum officer.

DO NOT forget to complete an AR-11 (change of address form) prior to having your arriving alien disappear on bond/parole.

What is the difference between bond and parole? From an absolute standpoint -- nothing. From a practical standpoint, a bond requires the payment of collateral in order to ensure the alien will return to court. Parole requires no payment (hence the term, "parole", which means "word" in the sense of "to give one's word").

Do you have an immigration question about arriving alients? Give us a call! We can help. Do not try to handle immigration court on your own -- this can be disastrous and lead to expedited removal without an appeal. We have specialized experience with gangs and special juvenile immigrant status (SJIS) cases. Let our expertise work for you.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 Charles Hatley, Esq.
Leigh Snyder, Esq.

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