When it was discovered that the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks entered the US legally with valid visas, immigration enforcement came into the national spotlight. In theory, deportation proceedings are used to kick out the “bad guys” and allow non-dangerous immigrants to remain in the US; however the deportation numbers tell a different story.
Two weeks ago, Iran executed three men because they were gay. Iranian authorities rarely admit executing prisoners on the basis of sexuality – typically they are killed on trumped-up charges like kidnapping or burglary – but here the men were explicitly charged with the crime of intercourse between men.
Matthew Denice’s tragic death at the hands of a drunk driver is a crime that should be punished. But it is not the single incident upon which public policy should be based.
In February Cheik Diop, a Senegalese asylum seeker, walked out of an immigration detention facility in Pennsylvania. His release came nearly three years after he was first detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in early 2008. Last week, a federal appeals court held that detaining Diop for 1,072-days while he fought to stay in the United States violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. This important ruling gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are detained every year.
This week, sexual assault charges against former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, were dropped due to concerns about the credibility of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo. The inconsistency of Diallo’s narrative, as well as lies contained in her asylum application, led the prosecution to conclude that its case was in jeopardy. Due to the attack on her credibility, the truth regarding what happened in that Manhattan hotel room will never be known. What does this mean for other immigrants who fall victim to crime in the US?