US criticised over immigrant rights | News | Al Jazeera

US criticised over immigrant rights

Rights group Amnesty says tens of thousands held without cases being heard.

    Amnesty says many immigrants do not get
    legal representation [GALLO/GETTY]

    Amnesty said more than 300,000 people are detained by US immigration officials each year, including asylum seekers, torture survivors, victims of human trafficking, legal permanent residents and the parents of US citizens.

    "The use of detention as a tool to combat unauthorised migration falls short of international human rights law," the report said.

    Representation difficult

    The US Department of Homeland Security has the power to detain people at the border or during raids if it suspects them of an immigration violation.

    People detained at the border are not entitled to a review of their detention by an immigration judge, Amnesty said.

    Those apprehended inside the US have the right to appear before a judge, but the wait can be long.

    The report also said that it is so difficult for most detainees to get legal representation that many ask to be deported from the US even if they believe they are entitled to stay.

    The Amnesty report said US citizens were also incorrectly subjected to detention with no right to a hearing before a judge and spent months or years behind bars before proving they could not be deported.

    According to the report, there were about 12 million illegal immigrants living in the US as of January 2007.

    The top five countries of origin were Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Philippines and China.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    How has the international arms trade exacerbated conflict in the Middle East? People and Power investigates.

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.