Emory law school calls for probe of Atlanta Immigration Court

The Emory University School of Law and Southern Poverty Law Center are calling for an investigation into the Atlanta-based federal immigration court, alleging discrimination and hostility on the part of some judges. From the Tuesday’s SPLC press release:

In a letter sent to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today, the organizations documented how judges made prejudicial statements – sometimes expressing hostility – toward immigrants in court. The letter also describes how judges disregarded legal arguments and standards, failed to provide adequate interpretation services for immigrants, and cancelled hearings with little to no notice.

 

The EOIR oversees the nation’s immigration courts, including the Atlanta Immigration Court, which denies asylum at the highest rate of any immigration court – 98 percent. The average bond set by its judges is typically 41 percent higher than the national average ($8,200 versus $11,637).

 

“Immigration judges must be impartial, but our findings show that Atlanta Immigration Court judges regularly flout the ethical standards that govern their conduct,” said Lisa Graybill, SPLC deputy legal director. “While the evidence of bias and prejudice should disturb anyone who believes in the neutrality of tribunals in this country, it can be a matter of life or death for the immigrants who appear in front of these judges.

“A 98 percent denial rate on asylum applications – compared to a national average of 57 percent – means that some of these men, women and children are almost certainly being sent home to die. The judges must be held accountable.”

Click here for a copy of the letter.  GPB radio has some sound on the topic here.

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Meanwhile, our AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon reports that the Clarkston city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to limit their tiny DeKalb County city’s cooperation with federal deportation officers amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration:

The new policy, which took effect immediately, says city authorities shall not arrest or detain anyone based on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests called “detainers” or “administrative immigration warrants.”

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You know that “sanctuary” has become a loaded term in Washington. So Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has insisted instead that his is a “welcoming” city.

Today, members of the Fulton County Commission will decide whether to call themselves residents of a “compassionate region.” Because calling yourself a euphemism county would be just plain silly.

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Look before you tweet. This is the lesson that Steve Handel, husband of Sixth District congressional candidate Karen Handel, just learned. From CNN:

The husband of Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel shared an image on his Twitter timeline Tuesday that urged voters to support his wife in order to “free the black slaves from the Democratic plantation.”

 

“Like many of us, he (Steve) made a mistake and retweeted something he didn’t pay a lot of attention to, thinking it was just an absentee vote message. It clearly was not appropriate and has been deleted,” a campaign spokesperson said.

Ossoff on Wednesday declined to make hay out of it, saying that he largely avoids Twitter.

“Sometimes, social media can be dangerous,” he said.

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Democrat Jon Ossoff was in Washington earlier this year for a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi. On Tuesday, it was Republican Karen Handel’s turn to collect checks with her party’s House leader.

She was in Washington to hang with House Speaker Paul Ryan, and a tipster sent us this picture of the two:

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A few more details have trickled out about the internal poll conducted for Jon Ossoff’s campaign that shows him in a dead heat with Karen Handel in the June 20 runoff.

The Ossoff campaign released another memo from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research – the pollster who also worked for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – that delved deeper into the nubmers.

A few takeaways:

  • The 5 percent of undecided voters trend disproportionately female, minority and tend to live in DeKalb, the bluest part of the district.
  • Almost six in 10 Ossoff supporters believe the race is “more important than most elections” while about one-third of Handel backers say the same.
  • An even half of voters in the district give Ossoff a favorable rating, while 44 percent give Handel the same reviews.

Read the rest here.

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Several Georgia lawmakers on Capitol Hill — including both Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, we hear — joined a last-minute, behind-the-scenes effort by their South Carolina colleagues to aid Westinghouse Electric, the lead contractor on two new nuclear power generators at Plant Vogtle near Augusta that recently filed for bankruptcy.

As we wrote in this morning’s story on what Georgia does and doesn’t get in the new federal spending deal, they were looking to extend the deadline for a production tax credit that would provide economic incentives for new nuclear power plants that come online before 2020.

Westinghouse’s recent bankruptcy is expected to push the time frame beyond that for new units at Vogtle and V.C. Summer in South Carolina. One Capitol Hill staffer estimated that Vogtle could earn as much as $2 billion in incentives should the deadline be extended.

Our pal Emma Dumain over at the Charleston Post and Courier has more details on the ultimately unsuccessful effort, and she reports that some South Carolina Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, plan to vote against the $1.1 trillion spending package in protest. Many of Georgia’s lawmakers said yesterday they were still undecided on the legislation.

The new hope, according to three Georgia congressional staffers who were not authorized to speak on the record, is to have the same provision hitch a ride onto a tax overhaul or other legislation later this year.

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Whoops. Brian Kemp’s campaign sent out the following fundraising note this week:

On Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation that will end state funding of colleges and universities that help illegal immigrants avoid deportation.

 

House Bill 238 will keep Georgia students safe and sends a clear message that our state still believes in the rule of law.

Except House Bill 238 involves solar power changes, not sanctuary campuses. He should have referred to House Bill 37. His campaign said it was an unfortunate mixup.

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