Lawyer: Lack Of Federal Deportations In Guam A Security Concern

Currently lacks a fully functioning immigration court which does not align with status of “tip of the spear”

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News,July 28) – The absence of active federal efforts to deport migrant criminals from Guam is a national security issue, a longtime immigration attorney said.

Any breakdown in law enforcement, including the failure of federal authorities to remove foreigners who are convicted of breaking the law, has consequences, said Ladd Baumann, of the firm Baumann, Kondas and Xu.

As host to a Navy base, an Air Force base and an upcoming Marine Corps base, military officials and analysts have previously called Guam the “tip of the spear” to emphasize the island's role in military's efforts to keep the country secure from foreign threats.

Baumann said the same can’t be said about the way federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement views Guam, as it currently lacks a fully functioning immigration court to handle the deportations of convicted migrants in Guam.

Like other federal government entities, ICE faces federal budget constraints, and that’s an issue that not only affects Guam, but the states as well, he said.

“We are a very small part of the system, and the system has economic pressures, and manpower pressures like any other big system,” Baumann said. “And apparently we’re not big enough, or important enough, to get the attention of the people who writes those checks.”

The Pacific Daily News sent an email request for comment to an ICE public affairs regional office in California, but no response was received as of press time.

Baumann’s comments were in light of Gov. Eddie Calvo’s recent decisions to cut short the sentences of two convicted migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia in exchange for their voluntary departure from Guam. They also agreed not to attempt to return to the island in exchange for having the balance of their sentences commuted.

ICE has a system at the borders to check the fingerprint of foreign nationals trying to enter Guam, Baumann said, so there's a mechanism to keep them from coming back to the island. In a recent case, however, another citizen of the FSM who had been convicted of a crime in Guam and deported to the FSM, was able to return, undetected. His presence on Guam was discovered years later, when he was arrested in connection with family violence.

The governor has authority to enter into agreements with prisoners under the local prison system to pave the way for the convicts’ removal from the island, and address local prison overcrowding, Baumann said.

However, formal deportation proceedings are a federal government function, Baumann said.

The governor issued an executive order to commute the sentence of John-John Wia, who was convicted in connection with attempted armed robbery. He wounded his employer with a machete during the incident.

ICE hadn’t placed Wia under federal detention to await deportation as of July 22, so the governor on that date issued his executive ordering Wia’s “removal and deportation.” Wia is a citizen of Chuuk state in the FSM.

The governor’s executive order states he also ordered Wia to be permanently barred from re-entry “as a condition of commutation of sentence.”

Almost two weeks ago, the governor commuted the sentence of Ninton Hauk and sent him back on a one-way ticket to his home state of Chuuk.

Hauk, who slashed a child in the face with a butcher's knife, had about a year left on his sentence and three years of parole, but the governor reduced his sentence before sending him off Guam.

Pacific Daily News
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