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: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.