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Three former immigration judges, all with asylum denial rates mostly over 90 percent, have been appointed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Michael P. Baird, a former immigration judge in Dallas and then the notorious Atlanta Immigration Court, had a denial rate of 91.4 percent, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Sunita B. Mahtabfar, a former judge at the El Paso Immigration Court, had a denial rate of 98.7 percent. Sirce E. Owen, a former ICE prosecutor and “management judge” was also named to the board. The judges will now oversee appeals to immigration cases and the courts as a whole. Immigration Courtside (blog), Law 360
In other national immigration news…
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ICE Custody Deaths are the Highest They’ve Been Since 2006
Two men died in ICE custody on August 5. One died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, while the other died of an intracranial hemorrhage. Those deaths bring the total to 17 this fiscal year, the highest number since 2006. More than twice the number of people died in ICE custody this year than last year, even though the number of people detained is far lower this year than in previous years. The man who died of COVID-19 was at Farmville Detention Center in Virginia, which has the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the detention system. As of August 6, over 97 percent of the people in the facility had contracted the virus. Immigration Impact (blog)
Immigration Replaces White Collar Prosecutions
The Trump administration has overseen a drastic decline in white collar crime prosecutions by U.S. Attorney offices. Instead, the majority of crimes prosecuted by the federal government are immigration related. The average annual number of white collar defendants fell down to 26 percent from 30 percent for Trump’s first three years in office from the average under President Barack Obama, according to Justice Department data and Syracuse University. Immigration-related offenses meanwhile accounted for more than half of federal prosecutions in fiscal year 2018. Bloomberg Law
USCIS Raises Fees Up to 546 Percent
U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services has substantially raised fees for dozens of immigration and naturalization applications, including implementing a $50 fee for asylum seekers. The fees were increased across the board by a weighted average of 20 percent under a new regulation. It “also removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies intercountry adoption processing,” DHS said in a statement. The highest fee hike is for the N-300, Application to File Declaration of Intention, which jumped from $230 to $1,485, a 546 percent change. El Nuevo Herald
CDC Scientists Arrive at Immigration Jail Facing COVID Outbreak
A team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived Monday at an immigration jail in Farmville, Virginia, the site of the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the immigration detention system. One detainee who had the virus died there last week. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has been pushing for federal intervention for months, as the state is unable to intervene in the for-profit, federal government-contracted facility. “After pushing for months, I’m relieved to see this necessary — and long overdue — action,” Northam said in an emailed statement. “I will continue to advocate for the health and safety of all in our Commonwealth, regardless of immigration status.” The Washington Post
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