Levin to ICE: Ensure Review Process for Chaldean American Detainees

Oct 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09) today sent a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas D. Homan expressing strong concerns over the review process for Iraqi American detainees, which should determine whether they need to be held in continued detention as they await a determination of their status. ICE has attempted to deport these individuals, but has been blocked by the courts. 

“Given these statutory and internal safeguards put in place, I am deeply troubled that few, if any of the Chaldean Iraqi detainees in ICE custody since June, appear to have received meaningful review of their continued post-order custody detention.  This is so in spite of the fact that many have lived in the Detroit-metro area for decades, have U.S. born children, family members, and gainful employment.  Some have been checking in with ICE for decades.  As such, the vast majority of this population does not appear to be either a danger to their community or a flight risk,” Rep. Levin wrote.

Rep. Levin recently visited five detainees at the detention center in Youngstown, and chronicled their stories in a column. He has also written ICE a number of times requesting additional information on the Iraqi Americans, many of whom are Chaldean; ICE has declined to provide additional details.

The full text of the letter is below, and a pdf version can be found here.

Dear Acting Director Homan:

I write to express strong concerns regarding the post-order custody review process in deciding whether continued detention of Iraqi nationals since June, most of whom have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade or more, is justified.
 
8 U.S.C. § 1231 provides for a 90-day removal period, after which post-order custody reviews must be conducted to determine whether continued detention is justified.  This review process requires ICE to consider release of individuals who pose no danger or flight risk, 8 C.F.R. § 241.4(e)-(f). 

I ask that you provide detailed information regarding this review process as to each of the detainees, including how many instances it has led to the release of an individual pursuant to such a review.

Sections § 241.1(e) through (f) delineate criteria which govern post-order custody reviews.  Further,  ICE’s internal guidance for conducting post order reviews confirms that release is appropriate “if it is determined that the alien would not pose a danger to the community or a flight risk, without regard to the likelihood of the alien’s removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.”

The criteria and factors set forth in § 241.1(e) through (f) are as follows:

  • whether the detainee is a significant flight risk;
  • whether the detainee poses a danger to themselves or others;
  • whether the detainee has ties to the United States such as the number of close relatives residing here lawfully;
  • information showing that the detainee is likely to “adjust to life in a community;
  • whether the detainee is engaged in future acts of violence;
  • whether the detainee is likely to engage in future criminal activity;
  • and whether the detainee is likely to violate the conditions of his or her release from immigration custody. 

Given these statutory and internal safeguards put in place, I am deeply troubled that few, if any of the Chaldean Iraqi detainees in ICE custody since June, appear to have received meaningful review of their continued post-order custody detention.  This is so in spite of the fact that many have lived in the Detroit-metro area for decades, have U.S. born children, family members, and gainful employment.  Some have been checking in with ICE for decades.  As such, the vast majority of this population does not appear to be either a danger to their community or a flight risk. 

It is critical that post-order custody reviews with respect to the detained Chaldean Iraqis are conducted in a meaningful and timely manner, considering all the relevant criteria and factors set forth in law.  I therefore ask that you provide information regarding the process at your earliest availability. 

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