Monday, February 26, 2007

Lavira: CAT for Haiti Prison Conditions Possible

Lavira v. Gonzales, No. 05-3334 (3d Cir. Feb. 26, 2007)

Great victory by Valerie Birch of the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center!

The BIA and IJ Sease erred by refusing to analyze the argument made by an HIV-positive amputee convicted of a small drug crime that he specifically would face torturous conditions if deported to Haiti where they would put him in deplorable prison conditions.

Even though general CAT requests based on the overall prison system have not succeeded in front of the Third Circuit, the Third Circuit repeatedly said it left open the possibility that CAT might be proper if there is specific proof of what a particular person would suffer if put in the awful Haiti prisons.

The immigrant in this case provided sustantial evidence, but the BIA and IJ Sease did not address the evidence and flatly denied CAT. The Third Circuit pointed out what it has said many times before -- particular proof for the individual about torture he may suffer if deported must be analyzed, because it can serve as the basis for CAT relief, even for prisons in Haiti.

In a similar vein, the court must analyze the argument about whether the small drug crime fits a six-factor test to find out whether it is a particularly serious crime the disqualifies him for various types of relief. Great decision by the Third Circuit, which remanded the case for further analysis.


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