T HE TEXAS server OCTOBER 2, 1992 VOLUME 84, No. 19 FEATURES Making Claims and Taking Responsibility By Molly Ivins 6 The Disappearing Emperor By James McCarty Yeager 8 Free Trade and Promises By Deborah Lutterbeck 1 0 DEPARTMENTS Editorials 3 & 5 Las Americas A Nation Rebuilds By Rebecca Thatcher 1 1 The Children’s War By Grady Simmons and Kim Smith 13 Environmental Observer Carbon Tax and Texas By Robert Bryce 15 Books & the Culture Goodbye Columbus Book review Nancy Dughi 17 A Silenced Lamb Book review by Dave Oliphant 19 Drug Money Masterpiece Movie review by Steven Kellman 21 Political Intelligence 24 Cover art by Sylvia Orozco McAllen AT3 A.M. ON MARCH 12 of this year an mmigration and Naturalization Service official awakened 14 -year-old Deniz Orlando Lopez, an undocumented immigrant the agency believes is from Honduras. Lopez, who at the time was in INS custody, was asleep in his bed at the Raymondville Juvenile Detention Center. He was taken to the Harlingen airport, where he was told he was being flown to Houston to speak to the. Honduran Consulate. He was not told that the INS employee escorting him, Aaron Cabrera, was an agent responsible for the deportation of minors. In Houston, Lopez was left in an office with two consular officials who questioned him. “I could see Mr. Cabrera just outside of the office where he waited and watched me,” Lopez said in a deposition. When the interrogation was completed, one of the consular officials handed a paper to Cabrera, who told the child: “Look at this paper, with this you can go to your country.” But Deniz Orlando Lopez did not want to go to his country. “I told him I would sign no paper. I wanted to go back to the shelter,” the child said in the lobby outside Judge Ricardo Hinojosa’s federal courtroom. He spoke in Spanish, except when he referred to “el shelter.” There are two stories here. One is of Deniz Orlando Lopez, who might be Deniz Orlando Perez. And who might be 16. And who might be from Honduras. He is, according to a psychologist who evaluated him, mildly retarded. He is also in this country alone, as alone as he was when picked up by Border Patrol officers in Laredo. Then there’s the story of a federal agency that so flagrantly disobeys its own rules and so cavalierly disregards the U.S. Constitution that a Reagan-appointed federal judge is compelled to ask in court: “Why can’t you abide by your own rules?…What do constitutional protections mean if they are not applied?” This judge knew that when INS officials loaded Deniz onto a plane and flew him to Houston, they did so fully aware that he had an attorney representing him. The INS made no effort to contact the attorney. Even if the INS staff didn’t know who the attorney was, as Judge Hinojosa said to U.S. Attorney David Ayala, who represented the agency in court, the INS legal staff knows who practices immigration law in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. “You’ve been here at least as long as I have,” Hinojosa said. “You know who these people are.” In other words, had INS attorneys been committed to following their own rules, even if there had been some uncertainty about who represented this particular client \(there were two othwould have required only one or two local phone calls to find the lawyer. But the INS knew. They had been served notice by Lisa Polumbo, Lopez’s attorney, one month before they took the child to Houston without counsel. And Polumbo had previously represented Lopez in ithmigration court on two occasions when INS trial lawyers were present, and had filed legal papers on behalf of Deniz Lopez. Yet the INS, without advising her, took the child to the Honduran Consulate in Houston. The information obtained by the Honduran consular officials was later introduced as evidence against Lopez. It included, according to one of the attorneys requesting Judge Hinojosa to order the INS to follow its own rules, questions about certain types of foods. When Lopez was found to be familiar with the foods of Honduras, this provided evidence that he was Honduran and therefore could be deported to that country. \(Immigration attorneys often refuse to divulge the nationality of their clients in court proceedings, where the burden of proof lies with the government to establish that the The early-morning flight of Deniz Lopez, who in court confounded even his attorneys by telling the judge that his name was Deniz Perez, was not the only incident in which INS deportation officials violated their own rules and what Judge Hinojosa described as “constitutional protection and basic fairness.” Juan Carlos Garcia is an 13-year-old immigrant and a client of Proyecto Libertad, a nonprofit legal-assistance office in Harlingen. After failing to convince an immigration judge that Garcia was “deportable,” the INS continued to bring the child into court without advising his attorney at Proyecto Libertad. During the course of the hearing held in Judge Hinojosa’s federal district court, attorneys \(one from the INS struggled to explain to the judge why Garcia’s attorney was not notified when new deportation proceedings against the child were initiated in court on Aug. 14. Told that the agency’s legal staff had notified the child’s foster parents, Hinojosa became visibly angry. “You knew [who the attorney was]” the judge said “Why serve the foster parent [who is] your employee, who is under contract to you? Attorneys represent these people and try to enforce their legal rights.” When government attorney Ayala responded that foster parents are recruited by a private agency and not by the INS, the judge continued his admonition from the bench: “That’s hardly fair for you to say you advised the parent … You pay them [the foster parent agencies]. They are not picked by the children, not by the attorney. By you You paid for this. When the INS ERRATA: Author Paul Boller’s name was incorrectly spelled in the September 18 issue. We regret the error. EDITORIAL The INS in Court THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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