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Thread: For Manuel Duran and others in immigration court, stakes can be life and death

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  1. #1
    Senior Member European Knight's Avatar
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    Post For Manuel Duran and others in immigration court, stakes can be life and death

    For Manuel Duran and others in immigration court, stakes can be life and death

    Daniel Connolly, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

    A judge once said working in the immigration court system was like holding death penalty cases in traffic court.

    Immigration judges handle hundreds of cases. They have power to decide whether to send people back to their countries of origin, where they might die of violence.

    Now at least one immigration judge will likely decide the high-profile case of 42-year-old reporter Manuel Duran. The former broadcaster for Spanish-language radio was live-streaming a Downtown protest about immigration detention for his online news outlet, Memphis Noticias, when he was arrested on April 3.

    More: Memphis reporter Manuel Duran now in Louisiana immigration detention center, lawyer says

    Police said he and others refused orders to clear the street. Though prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Duran, immigration agents picked him up at the local jail. The government aims to send him to El Salvador based on a 2007 deportation order.

    Duran waits inside a detention center in Jena, La., while lawyers seek a new hearing before an immigration judge. They plan a news conference Monday to announce an additional filing in the case.

    Former Memphis immigration Judge Charles E. Pazar, who retired last year, offered his insight on the Duran case and others pending in America's immigration courts.

    First immigration judge in Memphis




    Between 1998 and last year, Pazar heard the cases of immigrants from all over the world, from West Africa to China.

    He remembers some of them clearly, like the cafe owner who had angered a political party in his country. The man showed the judge security camera footage of a bomb going off inside his business. Pazar let him stay in the U.S.

    He said the cafe owner likely came from Venezuela or Colombia, but he's not sure. “Remember, I’ve heard thousands, tens of thousands of cases over the years. The details do blur a little bit.”

    More: Manuel Duran case: Lawyers ask court to set aside reporter's 2007 deportation order

    Now 65, Pazar grew up in Bergen County, NJ. He briefly worked as a defense attorney and spent years representing the government side in immigration cases. He applied for a judgeship in the late 1990s.

    He launched the first full-time immigration court in Memphis as a solo judge in 1998.

    Today, four Memphis immigration judges hear cases on the fifth floor of an office building on Monroe Avenue in Downtown. Immigrants come to the court from throughout Tennessee and nearby states.


    Buy PhotoCommunity members attend a April 10, 2018 vigil outside El Mercadito de Memphis in Hickory Hill to support Manuel Duran. The reporter for Spanish-language media was arrested April 3, 2018 while doing a live Internet video of a Memphis protest. Duran has since been transferred to an immigration detention center in Louisiana. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)


    Changes under Trump

    Before the election of President Donald Trump, the government routinely closed the cases of immigrants who lacked criminal records, sparing them from deportation.

    Today, the government pursues more deportation cases against people accused of immigration violations but lacking major criminal records.

    A check of Shelby County court records shows Duran has never been arrested on a felony charge here. He faced misdemeanor charges in 2009 and 2010 of driving without a license and related counts.

    More: Who is Manuel Duran? A look at the arrested Memphis-based reporter facing deportation

    The government's increased enforcement has pushed more cases into immigration court. As of February, the Memphis court had nearly 16,000 pending cases, the most in its history.

    “In August of 2017, I was setting cases in 2020,” Pazar said.

    Deportation hearings unfold like miniature trials, often with the help of interpreters. There is often little evidence beyond the immigrant's testimony, Pazar said. There is no jury. Immigrants may appeal a judge's decision, but it's a long and often expensive process.

    The Trump administration aims to speed up deportations by requiring judges to clear 700 cases a year to maintain "satisfactory" ratings, a step that's drawn criticism from the judges and others.


    Buy PhotoCommunity members attend a April 10, 2018 vigil outside El Mercadito de Memphis in Hickory Hill to support Manuel Duran. The reporter for Spanish-language media was arrested April 3, 2018 while doing a live Internet video of a Memphis protest. Duran has since been transferred to an immigration detention center in Louisiana. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

    Seeking bond

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan D. Cox said Duran failed to appear at a 2007 court date in Atlanta. An immigration judge ordered him deported.

    Duran's attorneys say he never received notice to appear that day. They filed a motion asking the Atlanta immigration court to reopen the case. If successful, the attorneys will seek release on bond, then pursue the case in Memphis.

    Pazar says bond hearings depend on factors such as the person's family connections, business ties, criminal record, history of meeting bond, and likelihood of eventually winning the immigration case.

    Fear of persecution

    Pazar said Duran might have various options to win in immigration court, including family connections or an employer willing to sponsor him.

    Duran's lawyers say he may face persecution if deported to El Salvador. Some reporters in El Salvador have been threatened or murdered, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Pazar said asylum and related cases require a person to show credible fear of persecution based on at least one of the following: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

    More: Jailed Memphis reporter could face deportation; others arrested at protest released on bond

    Pazar said a judge would decide if Duran's job as a reporter qualifies.

    Pazar said Duran's legal team must also consider other details. “That’s why immigration law is so complicated and that’s why people need to see immigration lawyers.”

    Lawyers, luck make a difference

    There are no public defenders in the immigration court system, and just 37 percent of immigrants in deportation proceedings have a lawyer, according to a study by the American Immigration Council. Even children sometimes represent themselves.

    More: Opinion | Deporting Duran and the American dream

    Ninety percent of immigrants without lawyers lose asylum cases. Among those who have lawyers, half win, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. Duran is represented by Jeremy Jong,a Louisiana-based lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Christina Swatzell, a staff attorney with Latino Memphis.

    The national average denial rate in asylum cases is about 53 percent, but rates vary greatly from judge to judge.

    Next steps

    Duran's supporters are raising money in anticipation of paying his bond.

    Pazar is teaching a course in immigration law at the University of Memphis. And he's also pursuing a longtime hobby — genealogy.

    More: Nine activists arrested at Memphis immigration detention protest

    Three out of his four grandparents were born outside the United States, including one born in a village in what's now Romania, which he has visited.

    He said this research made him even more determined to be fair.

    “I realized the tremendous importance of the decision I make to the people involved."

    Immigration court, Manuel Duran case: Retired Memphis judge's opinion
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at http://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    We have "violence" here. Same VIOLENCE they do.

    Send them all back with no path to stay.

    Get out and get in line like the 2 billion people on the planet that have the same "violence".

    Find a new profession!!!

    No lawyers! Go home and fix your own country.
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  3. #3
    MW
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    Article date: April 15, 2018.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts athttps://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  4. #4
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    What the hell, let in every body, all 7 billion of them in the world. We don’t have a government that wants to preserve our country. We don’t have borders or a country anymore now; we are fighting to re-establish them.

    Why are these people given court hearings? They are here illegally and therefore should be deported. The crime is obvious and irrefutable so why are the courts interfering with simple enforcement of the law? These people are foreigners and should not qualify for Constructional protections like legal citizens. These hearings are just another example of the abuse and illegal expansion of judicial authority. What is there to have a court decision about? All of this stuff is just more of the liberals sabotaging every effort to have effective control over our borders. Look at the time, money and expense that are tied up in a court system that delays deportations for years and allows them to disappear into the general population. This court crap is just more liberal sabotaging of our national sovereignty by making it difficult, complicated and expensive to do a simple like thing ship them back to their own countries. And it diverts limited resources away from effectively controlling illegal immigration.


    We need to start adding to our issues the demand to stop the court immigration hearings for illegal aliens and have immediate deportation upon arrest.
    artist, Judy, grandmasmad and 4 others like this.

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