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Prof. Kristina Campbell in Colorlines Representing Immigrant in DHS Deportation Case

Tuesday, May 15, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Max Rodriguez
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Professor Kristina Campbell, Director of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at UDC-DCSL, is representing Jose Barahona, a Salvadoran immigrant being accused by the Department of Homeland Security of supporting terrorism. The case is discussed in a new article in Colorlines, "Feds Use Counter-Terrorism Laws to Fuel Deportation Machine"

From Colorlines: Twenty seven years ago in El Salvador, Jose Barahona opened the door to FMLN armed guerillas, who used his kitchen and slept on his floor. If he refused he would have likely been killed. At the age of 24, with his new wife and baby boy, he left his Salvadoran mountain village and came to the United States where the couple would have two more children and where he’d spend the next two and half decades. Now the Department of Homeland Security's attorney argues that his interactions with the FMLN guerillas 27 years ago "rises to the level of material support” for terrorism and that he is therefore ineligible to remain in the country.

Kristina Campbell

Prof. Kristina Campbell

Professor Campbell says that if Barahona did not have legal support, he’d already have been deported. The Immigration and Human Rights Clinic appealed the immigration court’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the appellate authority in the immigration system. In September, the Board agreed with the lower court that he must be deported as long as the government’s material support bar remained.

Barahona appeared in the 4th circuit federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia yesterday where a panel of judges heard arguments in the case.

Professor Campbell argued in court that what Barahona did cannot be construed as material support for terrorism, but that even if it could, the court should find that because her client had no choice in helping the FMLN, the bar should not be applied. If argument prevails, the decision could have significant implications for the breadth of the government’s power to use the material support bar. If Barahona loses and the government gets its way, the case could help cement the government’s ability to widely cast the material support bar in immigration cases.

The government’s unyielding insistence on Barahona’s deportation raises a set of questions about the possible misuse of the material support bar.

Professor Campbell suspects that the working group charged with material support decisions denied Barahona an exemption because of his earlier misdemeanor convictions. "My clients crime was extremely minor,” she said, "but the attorney wants him gone.” What a few misdemeanor offenses have to do with support for terrorism is unclear.

"They don’t want to concede anything on my client,” said Campbell. "The government’s position is that any conduct makes you inadmissible on the material support grounds.”

Read the entire article in Colorlines, "Feds Use Counter-Terrorism Laws to Fuel Deportation Machine." Read more about the case and listen to audio of the oral argument on ImmigrationProf Blog. Read more about Prof. Kristina Campbell.

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