Salvadoran General Deemed Deportable In the Absence of Criminal Charges

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Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
March 17, 2015

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled last week that General Carlos Eugenio Vides-Casanova could be removed to El Salvador on account of his participation in human rights abuses in the 1980s when he was head of the National Guard (1979–1983) and then Minister of Defense (1983–1989). (The judgment is here.) In so ruling, the BIA affirmed a February 2012 opinion by an Immigration Judge, which — apparently for privacy reasons — was not released by the Justice Department until April 2013 after The New York Times filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Vides-Casanova has been found deportable under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1127(a)(4)(D) (passed in 2004 but rendered retroactive), which is intended to bar individuals who participated in genocide, Nazi persecution, torture, or summary execution from enjoying safe haven in the United States. The suit was originally brought in 2009 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s (DHS ICE) Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit with input from NGOs, such as the Center for Justice & Accountability, who have contacts in refugee and immigrant communities. Vides-Casanova will not be immediately removed from the United States since he is entitled to appeal the BIA’s ruling to the 11th Circuit. More on background is available here.

Read the full piece at Just Security