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Is the U.S. removing immigrant human rights violators?

Yes. The United States does have procedures in place whose purpose is to prevent entry by those who have committed atrocities against other humans or engaged in other human rights violations. It also has processes for removal should authorities learn that a person living in the United States was previously a violator. However, it can take many years for the process to play out and for the subject to avail him or herself of due process rights prior to removal. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently reported on one such instance where a person who had lived legally in the United States was investigated and ultimately deported in early January, 2018 based on government findings of a serious nature.

2006 discovery of false statements

In this case, back in 2006, ICE officials learned that a 65-year-old Bosnian immigrant had failed to disclose, on multiple occasions, that he had served in the Bosnian Serb Army more than 10 years before. The man, when confronted with evidence, admitted that he had served in the Zvornik Brigade from 1992-1996.

Evidence revealed that the man had been a reliable member officer and received rapid promotions. Moreover, during the July, 1995 Srebrenica genocide where that Army killed thousands of men and boys, evidence showed that the man had been on duty in that area, at that time, and in a location to block escape routes of the victims.

Multi-agency collaboration

The kind of investigation needed for removal is complicated and involve many agencies within and without ICE. Here, some of the involved governmental parties included:

  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Office of Chief Counsel
  • Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center

Eventual removal upheld in late 2017 after decade of due process

The man’s false statements in combination with his questionable military history, combined to appear particularly serious and supported his removal from the United States. However, it is important to recognize that there is robust due process for such allegations that could lead to removal.

This man’s due process included appealing before the Board of Immigration Appeals and then the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. After more than 10 years of due process, both levels of appeal upheld the removal decision by October of 2017.

 

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