The case, DHS v. Thuraissigiam,
concerns a Sri Lankan immigrant who fled his country after allegedly being abducted and tortured by government officials. The immigrant is a Tamil, an oppressed minority group that has regularly been a subject of human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan government. However, when he came to the United States seeking asylum, he was placed into the “expedited removal” process, which consists of a short interview with an asylum official to determine if they have a “credible fear” of harm from returning to their home country, followed by a review by an immigration judge employed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). If neither the asylum official nor DOJ judge determine there to be a credible fear, the asylum seeker is deported “without further hearing or review,” as described in 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e)(2)
The primary issue in dispute arises from that phrase, “without further hearing or review.” The ACLU has argued that the expedited removal process denies immigrants access to habeas corpus, which entitles people to have their case heard before a judge or court, and in particular to question whether their detention is lawful. The ACLU argues that the writ of habeas corpus should entitle an asylum seeker to a full judicial review, and not merely the truncated legal process used in expedited removal. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU’s argument, but it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will affirm the ruling when they hear arguments for the case in March.
The lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in handling various immigration matters, including removal defense, asylum applications, visa applications, waivers and more. For more information or to schedule a consultation
at our New York City or New Jersey law office, call (212) 267-2555.