SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Advocates are continuing calls for the release of an Iraqi refugee at risking of being deported from the United States.
“It is a fundamental principle that the government cannot detain someone based on unsubstantiated rumors and unproven accusations,” said Ilyce Shugall, an attorney with Immigration Legal Defense (ILD) and a member of Mr. Ameen’s legal team. “The government keeps losing, yet continues to believe it can detain Omar (Ameen) indefinitely without cause. The Constitution does not allow such a cavalier denial of individual liberty.”
Omar Ameen, a refugee living in Sacramento, has been held by the government for more than three years. Earlier this year, he was accused of terrorism and of the murder of an Iraq police officer, but those allegations were ultimately rejected by the courts.
However, Ameen is facing allegations of immigration fraud after the judge found that he lied on his refugee application and was eligible to be removed from the country. Ameen was taken into custody for removal proceedings before the Department of Justice.
On Monday, the Immigrant Legal Defense and University of Chicago Immigrant Rights Clinic announced that they filed a petition for a writ of habeus corpus on behalf of Ameen that seeks to get him out of immigration custody. The petition alleges that his detention violates due process and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Advocates say Ameen is fighting for his freedom and to stay in the U.S.
“The government seems to think that it can do whatever it wants as long as it invokes the word ‘terrorism,’” said Nicole Hallett, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, “Rather than admit it was wrong about Omar, the government will go to extraordinary measures to keep him locked up. We are asking the federal court to put a stop to this abuse of power.”