On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case filed by over 20 Central American women who petitioned to have their claims of asylum heard from an independent judge. The women claim they came to the U.S. illegally because they needed protection.
The 29 Central American women and their 35 minor children were detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within minutes of their illegal entry into the United States in 2015, a court document from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania states. The federal judge found that the U.S. Courts cannot intervene in removal decisions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in late August 2016 that the women came here “surreptitiously” and do not have a right to judicial review and should be deported.
The illegal immigrant’s detention at the Berks Family Residential Center in Leesport and a “hunger strike” last summer have received attention by the media and civil liberties and open borders groups. The women initially said they would not eat until they were released. There have been protests at the facility.
The detention center is one of four facilities in the U.S. that houses women and children who illegally enter the country. The other three facilities are located in Texas.
Fourteen of the women and their children have been held in the federal immigration detention center in Pennslyvania for more than a year and a half, reported Newsworks, a public media provider serving Greater Philadelphia.
The women have claimed they are being held longer than is necessary for retaliation for them bringing a lawsuit. They filed suit alleging that their interviews with border patrol officials about their need for asylum were deficient and they have the right to appear before an immigration judge. DHS ordered their “expedited removal” after finding that none had a “credible fear” of torture or persecution upon return to Central America. They urge that they should have received an asylum application.
The Philadelphia media outlet reported in August 2016 that the women released a statement that said, “The officials say they cannot do anything for those of us who are part of the federal case, they discriminate against us because we had the courage to ask for help from the federal courts to fight for our cases.”
Federal lawyers for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) argued that the longer detention period is “a discrete instance where a group of aliens whose removal should already have been executed have been successful in postponing their removal.”
Officials for ICE released a statement saying, “The safety, well-being and housing conditions of those in [ICE] care are of utmost importance to the agency. The agency remains committed to ensuring that all individuals in our care are housed humanely and that they have access to legal counsel, visitation, recreation, and quality medical and mental health care.”
The facility houses detainees in an “open environment with play rooms, medical care and educational services,” according to a statement from ICE officials.
The nation’s highest court has now denied certiorari in Rosa Elida Castro et al. v. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (16-812).