Attorney Batra Addresses Unique Problem in El Paso

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El Paso – A number of asylum seekers detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) El Paso field office, including dozens from India, were force-fed by the ICE agents as many went on hunger strikes to protest their lengthy detention and alleged inhumane treatment. Democrat Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, representing Texas’ 16th Congressional District visited the facility and tweeted that the situation is “unacceptable.” IAT reached out to Attorney Ravi Batra in New York and here is his response:

The “El Paso 9” are presenting a unique problem: wanting to seek asylum in America at their own terms. The law is ill equipped to handle protestors, without it beginning to act like it’s a part of criminal justice system. What is most striking in this manufactured tragedy – manufactured by asylum seekers refusing to eat and trying to die in ICE’s custody – if a detention facility didn’t have heat in winter and a detainee died of frost-bite, the relatives of the decedent could rightfully sue ICE and our Federal Government. But what if, as with El Paso 9, the Detainees cut off the heat so as to freeze to death – is ICE and our Government liable? The nuanced answer would be a loud and clear “no.” Here, ICE even went to federal court and an Article III federal judge ordered forced-feeding after full due process that includes Detainees’ counsel participating. Detainees had the right to re-argue or appeal, or better yet, get really competent lawyers who would tell them: you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Here, the Asylum Seekers are essentially in contempt of court (and ICE protocols). All they need to do to alleviate all their suffering is to “just eat and drink” like all human beings do. This grandstanding isn’t even remotely like “civil disobedience” of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., or Nelson Mandela. Each of them wanted to change the British Empire, eliminate our Original Sin, and end Apartheid, respectively. These Asylum Seekers love America – as we are – so much so that they want to live here and be free; they want to change nothing about our “Shining City on the Hill.” They just want the right to crash in and get asylum, because they say so.

Well, that, unfortunately is not how due process works. Folks in contempt of court even in a civil case, such as refusing to sit for a deposition, can be thrown in jail – indefinitely – as they hold the key to freedom: honor the court order and get out of jail. Here, they violate and contempt ICE – who is trying to give them enough heat in winter to avoid frostbite, and food and drink to be well nourished (and that is no sin.) They have a choice eat and drink or leave these United States – but dictate they cannot.

Any attempt by any United Nations’ organ or any reference to the Convention against torture to these facts is the product of an unworthy anti-American bias and a mind so incapable of proper diagnosis – that they ought be terminated from gainful employment.

The plight of El Paso 9, albeit self-inflicted, pulls on one’s heart strings – for their original desire to live in the “Shining City on the Hill” is a most reasonable one. After all, everyone wants to live in America; which is why we need sensible immigration laws. How best to handle their case – without offending our ally India and to make sure their petition gets a full and fair hearing requires real lawyers, not flamethrowers, who would prevent this macabre and tragic situation to arise in the first place. (IAT)

About the author

Author profile

Ravi Batra is the head of a boutique law firm in Manhattan that handles complex constitutional, sovereignty, torture, civil and criminal cases, representing governments, corporates and individuals, with landmark legal victories, including, libel in fiction, in “Batra v. Dick Wolf.” He is Chairman & CEO, Greenstar Global Energy Corp., King Danylo of Galicia International Ltd., Mars & Pax Advisors, Ltd., Chairman of National Advisory Council on South Asian Affairs, and since September 2021, Advisor for Legal and Humanitarian Affairs to the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations. He is invited by various governments to address High Level Ministerial events, including, on Counter-Terrorism, including, Astana (Nur-Sultan), Dushanbe, Minsk and Delhi. He has testified in Congress as an invitee of the Chair, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, and interacted with U.S. Department of State from 1984 -1990, and then again, from 2006, during the tenures of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo and Antony Blinken.

He has served as Commissioner of New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), Trustee on New York State IOLA Board, New York State Judicial Screening Committee for the Second Judicial Department, City Bar’s Judicial Committee, Vice-Chair of Kings County Democratic County Committee’s Independent Judicial Screening Committee for the then-2nd Judicial Department of Brooklyn and Staten Island, Chair of NYSTLA’ Judicial Independence Committee, with many more bar leadership roles, including, NYSBA’s House of Delegates for four years. He has served as Advisor for Legal & Human Rights Affairs to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine post-annexation of Crimea till 2021, and Legal Advisor to numerous nations’ permanent missions to the U. N. since 2009, including, India, Pakistan, Honduras and Malta. He has served: as Global Special Counsel to The Antonov Company in Ukraine, a state-owned company, and was registered with the Justice Dept pursuant to FARA; and as Special Global Advisor to Rector/President of both - National Aviation University of Ukraine and National Technical University of Ukraine/KPI. He remains involved in geopolitics and public policy since the mid-1980's, starting with being on House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s Speaker’s Club and appointed member of NACSAA during President Ronald Reagan’s tenure. In 1988, he was part of U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese’s Delegation to Japan to resolve bilateral trade imbalance. He regularly interacts with the multilateral diplomatic community, and during the High Level UNGA Debate, with heads of State/Government. He is sought for his views as a speaker and writer. Starting September 11, 2021, he is now a publisher of The America Times Company Ltd.

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