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Asylum offices apparently no longer off-limits for ICE arrests

A man whose country of origin is Sudan was hoping to obtain protection from the U.S. government. Instead, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials showed up immediately after his asylum hearing and placed him under arrest. An attorney speaking on his behalf said the move was unprecedented; in fact, asylum offices in Louisiana and elsewhere used to be treated as off-limits for ICE arrests, along with churches, courthouses and schools.

An immigration official stated that the arrest was warranted as the man in question reportedly violated the terms of a temporary visa in 2014. During his asylum hearing, he told officials he was afraid to return to Sudan because he knows he will suffer persecution for his opposition to the ruling party there. His attorney stressed the fact that the man has no criminal record and has turned to the U.S. government to protect him from harm.

With regard to overstaying a visa, the man is not the first to have this happen; many times, the asylum process takes so long that immigrant visas expire before asylum is granted. The man's brother mentioned that he has a wife and child. A Venezuelan immigrant was arrested at an immigration office in Florida last year as well.

Many immigrant advocates are distressed by the increasing numbers of ICE arrests taking place at locations where immigrants are extremely vulnerable. They believe it is all part of a targeting process by the federal government. Any Louisiana immigrant facing asylum problems or wishing to discuss other immigration issues may turn to experienced immigration law attorneys for support.

Source: splinternews.com, "ICE Agents Arrest Asylum Seeker at His Own Asylum Hearing", Jorge Rivas, Accessed on Feb. 13, 2018

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