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Monday, April 19, 2004

Asylum Seekers Jailed

An article from the Denver Post points to a new program by immigration authorities that jails individuals waiting for their asylum appeals to be decided:

"You're taking people who are not criminals and putting them in jail. This is an extremely aggressive, distressful way to tell somebody they are not welcome here," said Laura Lichter, a Denver immigration lawyer.

Federal immigration officials point out that the test program is just beginning, is likely to affect only a few immigrants and may lose out to alternative methods judged more efficient or less controversial.

They concede that the program is already drawing poor reviews from immigrants' advocates but say those defenders ignore a problem plaguing the system: More than 400,000 people who are ordered to leave the country never go, and that number has grown by tens of thousands each year.

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