Do you want to know what it’s like to be mentally ill and in immigration court?
If you need a teaser, then check out the first part of this story:
NEW YORK — Twice the immigration judge asked the woman’s name. Twice she gave it: Xiu Ping Jiang. But he chided her, a Chinese New Yorker, for answering his question before the court interpreter had translated it into Mandarin.
“Ma’am, we’re going to do this one more time, and then I’m going to treat you as though you were not here,” the immigration judge, Rex J. Ford, warned the woman last year at her first hearing in Pompano Beach, Fla. He threatened to issue an order of deportation that would say she had failed to show up.
She was a waitress with no criminal record, no lawyer and a history of attempted suicide. Her reply to the judge’s threat, captured by the court transcript, was in imperfect English. “Sir, I not — cannot go home,” she said, referring to China, which her family says she fled in 1995 after being forcibly sterilized at age 20. “If I die, I die America.”
The judge moved on. “The respondent, after proper notice, has failed to appear,” he said for the record. And as she declared, “I’m going to die now,” he entered an order deporting her to China, and sent her back to the Glades County immigration jail.
This reminds me of a Cuban Review Plan case that I litigated through the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the 1990s which involved a detainee who “complained about his detention” which “incidentally [had] only been 18 months” in a federal prison. In the end, the detainee won his freedom but only after another year in prison.