Trump Administration's Inconsistent Views of Humanitarian Treatment

The agencies in Donald Trump's Administration continue to resemble a kid who leaves for school looking like he was dressed by different mothers.

The latest example: ICE jails a Venezuelan intending to detain him pending a final order of removal (deportation) even though he was tortured in a Venezuelan prison for opposition to the government and has a pending petition for asylum, while the State Department asks Venezuela to return an American jailed there and awaiting trial on weapons charges, citing humanitarian concerns.

Why is it okay for the U.S. to deport someone to Venezuela where they have been tortured in the past and likely will be in the future, but it is not okay for Venezuela to jail an American it believes has committed a serious crime? Apparently, in a Trump administration, humanitarian grounds only apply to Americans. The backstory: [More....]

Yesterday, ICE in Miami arrested Marco Coello, a 22 year old student from Venezuela who went to the ICE office to attend a hearing on his pending asylum petition, the grounds for which are that he was jailed and tortured during Venezuelan protests in 2014 and would be again if he was returned to Venezuela. ICE arrested him before the hearing began and said he overstayed his visa and would be detained pending a final order of removal.

Marco Coello, a 22-year-old Venezuelan, was at the U.S. immigration office in Miami on Wednesday awaiting a routine asylum hearing when authorities pulled him aside.

But instead of being allowed to make his case that he had been illegally imprisoned and tortured in Venezuela amid national protests in 2014, the U.S. officials informed him that he had overstayed his visa and was being detained.

Meanwhile, the State Department today called upon Venezuela to release a young American who is jailed there pending trial on weapons charges, on humanitarian grounds. It also called the charges against him dubious.

Venezuela disagrees and said when they raided the man and his Venezuelan wife's apartment, they found " assault rifles and grenades, as well as ammunition and "strategic maps of Caracas, and computer equipment which would be used to carry out terrorist acts." (They have also said he's a CIA operative who received weapons training and is part of a group that assassinated a member of Venezuela's ruling party.)

What two-faced nonsense. Trump's State Department wants Venezuela to release an American it suspects of committing a serious crime in that country on humanitarian grounds, while ICE wants to detain a Venezuelan who was jailed and tortured there during past protests, and has a pending asylum petition, until it can deport him.

Marco Rubio thought the Coello jailing was all a misunderstanding:

Rubio said he hoped it was a simple misunderstanding. “Otherwise, how can administration condemn [President Nicolás] Maduro for jailing his opponents if we jail his opponents too?” he asked.

After his office and others complained, Coello was released today. (Had Rubio or some other Republican not pushed the Trump Administration, he'd probably still be in custody.)

Details of his documented past arrest and torture in Venezuela are here.

U.S. asylum can be requested by any person who has been persecuted for reasons of "race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion," according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations.

The process can take months or year. After an I-589 asylum application has been submitted an interview is held to establish if there is a "credible fear" of persecution if the person returns to his or her home country.

It sure doesn't sound like a misunderstanding. ICE is justifying its actions (and Trump's new policy):

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Spokesman Nestor Yglesias said Coello was singled out because he has a misdemeanor criminal conviction and had stayed in the U.S. longer than his visa allowed. “As a result, he violated the terms of his non-immigrant status in the United States,” Ygelsias said in a statement.

“ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

No one alleges Coello has committed a serious crime in this country. He overstayed his visa and has one misdemeanor conviction (not two as ICE erroneously stated earlier). He is eligible for asylum.

Trump's executive order states:

Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to:

(b) detain individuals apprehended on suspicion of violating Federal or State law, including Federal immigration law, pending further proceedings regarding those violations.

I'm not saying the charges against the American are credible or that he should not be released, only that humanitarian grounds should apply to everyone regardless of nationality and it is hypocritical of the Trump administration to demand the release of an American from a Venezuelan jail while jailing a Venezuelan pending removal to that same country where he is likely to be jailed and tortured.

In other Venezuelan news, Amnesty International has published a new report, Silenced By Force: Politically-Motivated Arbitrary Detentions in Venezuela.” You can read it here.

Venezuelan authorities are using the justice system to illegally increase persecution and punishment of those who think differently, says Amnesty International in a new report published today amidst an increase in protests around the country which have resulted in several deaths and hundreds of people injured and imprisoned.

These include arrests... without a warrant, the prosecution of non-violent activists for crimes ‘against the homeland’ and the unjustified use of pre-trial detention and smear campaigns in the media against members of the political opposition, among other measures.

“In Venezuela dissent is not allowed. It appears that there is no limit to the authorities’ willingness to apply a myriad of legal tactics to punish those who express an opinion which differs from the official government position,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

The European Union today passed a resolution calling for Venezuela to release all political prisoners.

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  • Display: Sort:
    If only... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Lora on Sat Apr 29, 2017 at 09:20:02 AM EST
    1. If only Trump's obvious hypocrisy could be revealed to and understood by his supporters who are brainwashed by extreme right wing media.

    2. If only there were Republicans in politics with consciences. Marco Rubio had a conscience when it came to Coello; would he have a conscience for anyone else?