Monday, April 28, 2008

I still can't believe it

I didn’t even need to open the paper this morning. There on the front page, above the fold, right below the masthead, was the headline:
Judge says woman lacks good character
Deportation looms over woman acquitted of toddler's murder

First of all, you Latino advocates can all go back to sleep…She’s Malasian.

Now, I’ll give you the timeline of events in the case:
Late 1980s” – She comes here on a diplomatic visa as an employee of the Malasian government.
1994 – She went out of status, violating the terms of her visa (presumably, she no longer worked for the Malasian government).
January 11, 1996 – Deportation proceedings began.
October 3, 1998 – A 15-month-old girl died while in her care at her home day care center. The autopsy confirmed shaken-baby syndrome and confirmed that the symptoms would have presented themselves within minutes of the injury.
February 6, 2003 – A DuPage County judge acquitted her of the charges, citing conflicting testimony from medical experts.
January 2006 – All appeals with the Immigration courts (at the Circuit Courts as well) have been exhausted and she is ordered to leave the country.
November 27, 2007 – The date she was ordered by the judge to report for deportation. She was a no-show, which makes her one of the 600,000 fugitive absconders running around the country.
March 6, 2008 – Immigration picks her up and takes her into custody. She has appealed again. (Why they are allowing it, I do not know.) As for the delay in sending her home, they are waiting for travel documents. One would think this would be a simple step, but I guess not.

So, can anyone explain to me why she is still here? And why we are spending tax money for incarceration and appeals? And why this is front page news?

Well, maybe her legal eagle can shed some light on the case. Here’s a quote from the Daily Herald story: “In deciding whether to suspend her deportation, the immigration judge found Baraz lacked "good moral character." Her immigration attorney, Matthew Bernstein, of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, is challenging the ruling.
"Unfortunately, because of the criminal charge, she's not the most sympathetic candidate," Bernstein said. "The judge certainly pointed to the death of this child as a very important factor when he made the decision that she was not a person of good moral character."
Though so-called "hearsay" evidence is admissible in such immigration proceedings, Bernstein argues that the evidence used against Baraz wasn't probative or fair.
For example, the judge cited the criminal case despite Baraz's acquittal. He noted her insurer's six-figure settlement. He also considered state child-welfare agency reports regarding injuries of other children while at Baraz's day care but, Bernstein said, he was not allowed to cross-examine anyone.
Bernstein has asked the 7th District appeals court for a new immigration hearing regarding suspending deportation. Justices can only rule on whether there was an error in the law or the due process violation claim.
"In exercising his discretion, the judge took into account evidence that should never have been submitted," Bernstein said. "Regardless of which side of the immigration debate you are on, if you're going to have a system, that system needs to be fair and it needs to be administered with basic due process that we as a country believe in." (end of quote)

I’m not sure I see the lack of due process lawyer Bernstein is talk about. Do you?

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