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Matt Cameron 🗽 @matt_cam
, 32 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Live-tweeting from the Boston immigration court's detained docket:

Detainee is on video. I can't see his face but he has a heavy Massachusetts accent--you'd never know he wasn't born here. He is seeking bond.
2/ He has a series of drug-related convictions together with a record consistent with an addiction. Judge leaves his bond at "no bond" without hearing from him.
3/ Like most people on the detained docket, he doesn't have and can't afford a lawyer. (No appointed counsel here.) He is now speaking for himself.
4/ "Those last three cases were dismissed, your Honor."

"But you still have a very serious record."

"I've lived in this country for more than 30 years."

"You weren't supposed to commit crimes."
5/ Detainee is misunderstanding the point of federal law which makes him subject to mandatory detention due to a difference in the state and federal definitions of the term at issue. He really needs a lawyer.
6/ "You know what sir, I've already told you what is happening on your case today. You'll have another hearing with a different judge next Thursday and you can take it up with him then."

"OK, Your Honor."
7/ To be clear, the detainee has been here legally since he was a baby. If he is deported at next week's hearing (as he almost certainly will be) it will be for life.

He will have no chance of returning lawfully to the United States.

Ever.
8/ I'm not saying he's actually have a defense to his deportation. But, like so many others every day on the detained docket, he has no access to legal counsel to honestly assess his case.
9/ It's very likely he would have given up after speaking with a qualified attorney and decided to accept deportation. He has been in detention in the worst conditions in New England for over a month now.
10/ If he takes an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals on the point of law he believes he understands (but is absolutely wrong on), he will be there for another 3-5 months at taxpayer expense.
11/ This is just one small example--from one case I happened to walk into on today's detained docket--of how an appointed counsel system in #ImmigrationCourt would more than pay for itself.
12/ We're on now to a case in which an attorney is appearing by phone. He doesn't seem to understand how #ImmigrationCourt works at all.
13/ He completely failed to provide police reports in connection with his bond request (amateur mistake) and just interrupted the ICE atty in the middle of his bond argument to object him *mentioning* facts from a dismissed case. The judge and ICE atty make meaningful eye contact
14/ Judge denies bond without giving detainee's attorney a chance to argue. (The facts from the arrest, to be fair, kind of horrific)

The court doesn't have an interpreter available in detainee's unusual language, so attorney just had to explain everything in his native language
15/ Detainee is on video 90 miles away, attorney is on the phone in CT, judge is in a courtroom in Boston. Detainee begins to yell at attorney in his native language.

"Your Honor, my client is requesting immediate deportation."
16/ Attorney accepts all charges on behalf of client and requests voluntary departure in lieu of removal. Still no interpreter present. Detainee is married to a US citizen.
17/ Because we are now on the main removal record and no longer in a bond hearing, ICE attorney gets to recite terrible facts all over again to oppose voluntary departure. Judge once again does not let detainee's attorney argue and denies request.
18/ Judge is expediting removal at detainee's request. His mother is ill and he is ready to go back.

Bond denied and deportation ordered within 10 minutes.

Attorney and detainee have a brief, heated exchange in native language. Attorney hangs up.
19/ We're now on to another detainee with a serious record and no attorney. He wouldn't usually be eligible for immigration bond but qualifies for review now due to the "Gordon" class action.
20/ Detainee thinks he has a lawyer, but he's not in the courtroom. Judge orders him held for 10 more days to see if lawyer will show. Next.
21/ I could do these all afternoon, but I think you're getting the idea. Some context:

(1) Most immigrants never have contact with the criminal justice system. Those who do are now usually detained.
(2) Most of these detainees have current legal status (typically a greencard)
22/

3) These detainees represent a tiny sliver of the imm population, which commits crimes at lower rates than native-born

4) It' very possible to win these cases, but very few of us want to take them. They barely pay, are grueling work, and are mentally/emotionally exhausting
23/ Eh, why not--one more:

Mexican detainee. Young, competent, prepared lawyer. Has a pending charge for assault after successfully stopping a burglar from breaking into his car.
24/ From everything I'm hearing and this court's usual practices, this man should be given bond. Nothing here makes him sound dangerous, and he has strong ties to his church and community, 13 yrs here w/wife and kids. They all have serious medical issues.
25/ ICE attorney is reading WaPo on his laptop. Looks up when attorney has finished and turns in copies of detainee's records. Objects to bond, says he is dangerous.
26/ ICE atty claims that detainee's lawyer misrepresented record because he didn't mention that he had been charged with an open container in 2005. Ok.
27/ Adds that respondent created a public safety hazard by pointing a BB gun at a burglar *as the man was breaking into his car.* Says he could have found himself shot by police. Which, while true, says a lot more about us than it does about him.
28/ Judge agrees with ICE and denies bond for the sole provider of 3 (incl. 2 US citizens) who badly need him... because he stopped a burglary. Detainee takes it far more graciously than I would.

"Gracias! Have a nice day, Your Honor."
29/ I have tried to provide these details as faithfully as possible, without exaggeration or any extra details. All quotes are verbatim. My thumbs are tired, and it's almost my turn. My vacation last week already seems like it was months ago.
30/ Just realized I didn't provide context for why these immigration bond hearings are so important:

Denial of bond can change the course of an immigrant's life. Doing the case in custody means less access to counsel, a weaker defense, and months of prolonged detention.
31/ Denial of bond while a state criminal case is pending means that it will be nearly impossible to finish the case as ICE won't bring you to court. An open case will kill any future change of an immigrant visa.
32/ Even if you are eligible for an immigrant visa when you return (unlikely in most cases), there will likely be a 10-year unlawful presence bar. Very few detainees/deportees know this.
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