On April 28, 2019, I blogged about how ICE unjustly and inhumanely separated Ilyas Jama from his family. Ilyas has been in jail since.
On Thursdays May 9, 2019, Ilyas appeared in front of Administrative Immigration Judge in Fort Snelling Federal Building. The judge heard arguments about Ilyas’ detention.
The representing attorney challenged the detention under immigration statues. ICE lawyer responded that the government didn’t have time to review the law governing the case or Ilyas attorney briefing.
The judge gave ICE until Monday, May 13, 2019, to review the case and come back with its own briefing.
Meanwhile, Ilyas sat in jail separated from his family. The simple reason that ICE failed to do its job on time.
Ilyas came back to court on May 13, 2019, at 1 pm. The judge rejected ICE's briefing and ruled ICE had NO bases to hold him. The judge also ruled end of "proceedings" meaning ICE's entire case against Ilyas has been dismissed.
Moments before ruling against ICE, the judge went through precedents and statues for her decision. The judge’s language was so stern of ICE that she called the government’s argument a “legal fiction”.
At that moment, I looked at Qali, Ilyas' 8 years old daughter born and raised in Blaine, Minnesota and whispered to her that dad was coming home. I shout out that the judge ordered the guard to unchained Ilyas so she could hug her dad. He stood only a few feet away with arms and legs chained. A private contractor armed guard stood between an American child and her father.
It was a moment of high emotions. A reflection of American value that was at one point but was no more because who is currently in the White House.
ICE took Ilyas back to jail despite a judge ordering his detention illegal. ICE denied justice for 8 years old American child to have her father home because of a memorandum from the White House requiring mass detention of immigrants.
In normal circumstances, ICE would behold in contempt of court. This would be legal infraction in a district court.
But in immigration court, the judge and the ICE lawyer have the same chain of command. Thus, the judge is not independent.
This convoluted arrangement has transformed ICE, an agent that was once tasked with reuniting families into gulag police of our time. ICE currently sees itself as private police of the White House.
Ilyas case is emblematic of a broken immigration system and an enforcement agency completely out of control. There are many families in this predicament in Minnesota.
The problem of separating families is not isolated to the southern border. It’s happening here in our backyard.
As citizens, we don’t have to tolerate this. We can forcefully reject this and confront ICE’s practices.
We need mainstream media to cover these cases and help bring out the full breadth of these stories. The stories are breathtaking and the people are our neighbors.
We also need Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, as well as Representative Tom Emmer, demand the chief ICE legal officer in Minnesota release Ilyas Jama immediately. He has no legal bases to hold him.
The only reason to continue separating this family is purely a political pressure from the White House. The aforementioned three federal offices can and must provide proper counterweight and end this atrocious conduct by out of control federal agency.