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#3018: Haitian Immigrant Loses Appeal (fwd)
Monday March 27 10:19 AM ET Haitian Immigrant Loses Appeal
By RICHARD CARELLI, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court today rejected the appeal of a man
jailed by immigration officials in Miami since his return in late 1997
from a two-day trip to his native Haiti. The justices, without comment,
let stand a ruling that said Ralph Richardson, a legal immigrant who
lived in the United States for 29 years, is not entitled to a federal
court hearing on the legality of his detention. Richardson first
emigrated to this country in 1968 as a young child with his family,
which lived for many years in Georgia. In 1990, he was convicted and
sentenced to five years in prison on cocaine-related charges.
After completing his sentence, Richardson remained a legal permanent
resident alien. In October 1997, he left the country for a brief visit
to Haiti. Richardson was detained when he tried to re-enter the country,
and Immigration and Naturalization Service officials sought to have him
deported as an immigrant ``seeking admission into the United States.''
They said he was inadmissible because of his drug crime. He has been
jailed, without bond, at Miami's Krome Detention Center ever since.
A federal trial judge ruled that Richardson wrongly was denied a
hearing on his attempt to be released pending INS action in his case.
But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside that ruling.
The appeals court said a 1996 law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act, did away with the possibility of release
on bond for immigrants in Richardson's position. Immigrants no longer
have the right to a federal court hearing before removal proceedings are
ended, the 11th Circuit court ruled. In the appeal acted on today,
lawyers for Richardson said the appeals court ruling ``has profound
implications for all persons currently detained ... awaiting removal
proceedings.'' ``The decision to forestall review of detention until the
end of the removal process renders such review illusory for Mr.
Richardson and the thousands of aliens who will be detained for long
periods of time,'' the appeal contended. Justice Department lawyers
urged the court to reject Richardson's appeal. The case is Richardson
vs. Reno, 99-887.