New DHS, DOJ Policy Helps Insane Illegals Escape Deportation, Detention

May 1, 2013 - 11:05 PM

A new policy issued by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice Department (DOJ) providing new "safeguards" and "enhanced protections" against deportation and detention for illegal immigrants with "serious mental disorders" is already having an impact.

The new policy is described by the Justice Department as "a new nationwide policy for unrepresented immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings." ICE Director John Morton also announced the new policy in a staff memo.

The Justice Department's new policy guidance dictates that illegal aliens with "serious mental disorders or conditions" being held for deportation proceedings be given qualified representation to help them fight deportation - and a bond hearing so they'll have the opportunity to go free:

"The policy entails implementation of new procedural protections, including: conducting screening for serious mental disorders or conditions when individuals held for removal proceedings enter a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Health Service Corps (IHSC)-staffed immigration detention facility; working with non-IHSC-staffed immigration detention facilities to identify detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions in those facilities; the availability of competency hearings and independent psychiatric or psychological examinations; procedures that will make available qualified representatives to detainees who are deemed mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings; and bond hearings for detainees who were identified as having a serious mental disorder or condition that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves and have been held in immigration detention for at least six months."

The competency examinations will be administered through a program run by the DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and performed by an independent medical professional:

"EOIR will make available a qualified representative to unrepresented detainees who are deemed mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings. Additionally, detainees who were identified as having a serious mental disorder or condition that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves and who have been held in immigration detention for at least six months will also be afforded a bond hearing.

"DOJ and DHS believe these new procedures will provide enhanced protections to unrepresented immigration detainees with serious mental disorders or conditions that may render them mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings, and will facilitate the conduct of those proceedings. The Government expects these new procedures to be fully operational on a national basis by the end of 2013."

But, the new policy is already having an effect. Just one day after the new policy was announced, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that authorities must provide a lawyer and bond hearing to mentally ill illegal immigrants facing deportation. As KPBS reports:

"For the first time, a group of detainees accused of immigration violations will be given the right to legal counsel.

"A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that authorities must provide detainees facing deportation with an attorney if they're found incapable of representing themselves due to mental illness.

"Because immigration court is not part of the criminal justice system, defendants are normally required to hire their own lawyer or represent themselves.

"Judge Dolly M. Gee also ruled that mentally disabled detainees should be given a bond hearing to avoid unnecessary long-term detention."

Editor's Insight: What's next? Changing the Statue of Liberty quote to: "Give me your tired, your poor, your addled masses"?

See more "Right Views, Right Now."