Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday Is Free

Well, Sunday Agbata isn't actually free, but at least he's out of jail for the first time in eleven months. I posted on Mr. Agbata's dilemma on June 2 of this year. Arrested by immigration officials after being discovered as a stowaway on a boat from West Africa, Mr. Agbata was ordered deported. Then, for eleven months he sat in jail waiting for that to happen, even though courts have held that no one ordered deported can be held in jail for longer than six months unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Obviously ICE couldn't come up with any extraordinary reason for holding him.

From the Boston Globe:

A federal judge has ordered the release of a Nigerian immigrant who was jailed for 11 months after he was ordered deported, ruling that immigration officials had failed to justify detaining him for so long.

In his ruling issued last week, US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro ordered federal officials to release Sunday Agbata, a 27-year-old former auto factory worker. ...

Tauro wrote that ICE had failed to provide any evidence that Agbata was uncooperative - and had also failed to notify Agbata in writing about his alleged lack of cooperation, as required.

“The government has failed to identify any instance of willful noncompliance,’’ the judge wrote in a four-page decision issued Thursday. “Vague assertions that he refused to cooperate do not justify [Agbata’s] continued detention absent specific information about what more [he] could have done.’’
[Emphasis added]

The reason the government failed to identify an extraordinary reason for the continued detention is that there was none. Mr. Agbata was left moldering in his cell because he just wasn't all that important to ICE. They'd get around to him, sooner or later. It's not that he was lost in a shuffle of paper work. He had lawyers working diligently to provide the information the government wanted, and they contacted the appropriate authorities, updating them as necessary. The response from the government to such updates were always the same: he'd be deported "real soon, now."

Mr. Agbata wasn't a terrorist, or even much of a criminal: the only crime he had committed was trying to sneak into the country so that he could have a better life. It's a crime that hundreds of detainees in jails around the country have committed, many of whom are also just sitting and waiting.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder have some house cleaning to do. Their departments need a little shaking up so that these travesties don't continue.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've been accidentally banned at Eschaton sine 6/29.

How do I let Atrios know, as he has no idea who I am?


Banned by webmaster. Your comments will not be added

4:15 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Gimlet, I've put this up in comments, to get folks to email Atrios. it's happened to some others before, too.

4:26 AM  
Anonymous roger mayer said...

they contacted the appropriate authorities, updating them as necessary..

nice information

3:11 AM  
Anonymous james watt said...

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder have some house cleaning to do.,,

I have to thank you such an article.

3:12 AM  

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