Chuukese In Guam Accused Of Assaulting Police Are Not Subject For Deportation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says convictions must precede removal

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 19, 2016) – Two men Gov. Eddie Calvo requested last week be deported from Guam cannot currently be removed from the island, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

On July 11, Calvo called on ICE to deport VK Katson and JN John, two men arrested in connection with the June assault of a police officer at Hemlani’s Harmon Apartments. Katson and John are citizens of Chuuk, a state in the Federated States of Micronesia, according to prison records.

Police also said three male minors were arrested, but Katson is the only person who has been charged in connection with the incident. The Office of the Attorney General issued John a notice to appear in court at a later date.

Virginia Kice, director for ICE Western Regional Communications, told Pacific Daily News the Enforcement and Removal Operations officers assigned to ICE’s Criminal Alien Program reviewed the case histories of suspects Katson and John.

The officers “determined the two are not currently subject to removal based on U.S. law,” Kice said.

“ERO officers will monitor the criminal proceedings in the case closely and if convictions result that render either of the defendants potentially deportable, the agency will take appropriate follow-up enforcement action,” Kice said.

While Katson and John have been arrested in connection to the police officer assault, they haven’t been found guilty of a crime.

Priority of deportation

ICE has identified its priorities for removing migrants, and at the top of the list are migrants who are a threat to national security, border security and public safety, according to a 2014 memo from Jeh Johnson, secretary for U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson said during a July 8 budget hearing at the Legislature, that deporting convicted migrants in Guam isn’t a priority for federal officials.

“We have asked the federal government numerous times to assist us on that,” Barrett-Anderson said. “It’s not a priority for them ... we are at the bottom of the barrel. They’re not interested in engaging in deportation efforts with regard to non-citizens.”

The FSM Consul General in Guam said he’s waiting to hear back from officials in Pohnpei and is unable to answer questions from the press.

Kice said officials assigned to ICE’s Criminal Alien Program screen all foreign-born individuals booked into custody to determine if they are potentially deportable.

While ICE is the agency that charges aliens who violate immigration law, it is up to the judge in an immigration court to order the person be removed, or deported, according to Kice.

Calvo said last week that “it’s the federal government’s duty to ensure migrants are complying with the requirements of their residency on Guam.”

Two days after his public call to deport Katson and John, Calvo reduced the sentence of Ninton Hauk, also a Chuuk citizen. After commuting Hauk’s sentence, the government paid for Hauk’s one-way flight to Chuuk.

Oyaol Ngirairikl, governor’s director for communications, said Hauk is essentially a free man.

Hauk pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2011. A statement from the governor’s office said Hauk “voluntarily” left the island.

He had about a year left to serve behind bars and when he was approached with the possibility of a reduced sentence, he agreed. According to the governor’s office, Hauk agreed not to return to Guam as a condition of his commuted sentence. His name was submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines as someone not allowed back into Guam.

Compact conditions

Calvo, who removed a migrant convict from Guam last week through executive order, stated in the order he did so because the federal government has no “known or reasonably forseeable plan” to remove and deport regional migrants who are “public charges.”

The Compact of Free Association allows citizens of the FSM, Republic of the Marshall Islands to live and work in Guam or elsewhere in the U.S., but only under certain conditions. Here is what the compact, which was amended in 2003, says:

  • “it is not the intent of Congress to cause any adverse consequences for an affected jurisdiction.” (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii are listed as affected jurisdictions)
  • ‘‘any alien who has been admitted under the Compact, or the Compact, as amended, who cannot show that he or she has sufficient means of support in the United States, is deportable.’’
  • “The Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, shall apply to any person admitted or seeking admission to the United States… under the Compact or the Compact, as amended” (the act states you can be deported for criminal activity which endangers public safety or national security)
  • “Any person in the following categories may be admitted to, lawfully engage in occupations, and establish residence as a nonimmigrant in the United States and its territories and possessions” (the compact states citizens of the FSM are eligible to be admitted)
  • The Secretary of Defense shall make available, on a space available and reimbursable basis, the medical facilities of the Department of Defense for use by citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands who are properly referred to the facilities by government authorities responsible for provision of medical services in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau and the affected jurisdictions.

Sources: Compact of Free Association; U.S. immigration law

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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Comments

OPEN LETTER TO GOV. EDDIE CALVO, AND POLICE OFFICERS ON GUAM: To Gov. Of Guam, Police Department, US Military and their family, our American people and leaders & people of Guam, on behalf of my natives people of Chuuk State, I would deeply expressing my sincerest and deeply apologies 4 the few bad “illiterate natives” insensitive action & poor behavior of assaulting our Police Officer on Guam. This is not an acceptable behavior, and culture to both our country. I can only imagine the hurt, distress & embarrassment these few “bad natives” have caused & further damaged that has done to our Chuukese family relationship & trust among our people on Guam, and to United States at this moment. I hope that you, the leaders of Guam will allow our Chuukese and their family and children the opportunity to continued raised their family, and prove that they are good human being and good citizen on Guam, and will continued to take part of good citizen everyday. May God continued to bless our region on Guam, and entire Micronesia. Respectfully-

Thanks for deporting people does crime back to their own island

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