Guam’s Governor Calvo now using ICE for deportations
- Category: News
- Published: Tuesday, 04 October 2016 13:27
- Written by Bill Jaynes
- Hits: 740
By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 16, 2016
Pohnpei, FSM—Guam’s Governor Eddie Calvo has said that if the US Federal government is not going to do its job by deporting convicted migrants he will do it for them. He has already commuted the sentences of five FSM citizens from Chuuk and sent them home in exchange for a promise that they would never return to Guam even for transit purposes. Early on Calvo called his arrangements “deportations”, but even the Guam Attorney General has questioned whether the Guam Governor has any power for deportations, a role of the U.S. Government.
Calvo has since stopped referring to his sentence commutations and agreements for convicted FSM felons as “deportations” and at last for the last three sentence commutations, seems to have changed his method for reaching the same end.
On September 6, he commuted the sentences of a Chuukese and a Filipino felon and turned them over to ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for official US deportation hearings. He also commuted the sentence of a Kosraen serving a two year sentence for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct and then turned him over to ICE pending US deportation hearings.
After the first five deportations, the FSM consul in Guam, former Yap Governor Robert Ruecho informed Governor Calvo that future citizenship certifications would need to be provided by the FSM National Government and that Guam would need to provide a list of documents before FSM would provide that certification:
- recent color photograph of the individual
- fingerprints of the individual if available
- copy of the records from the facility where the individual is incarcerated, including relevant court records
- the individual’s medical records
- order of pardon or commutation
- copy of the agreement between the individual and GovGuam providing for the individual to depart Guam
- proof the individual received services of an attorney and a court certified language translator
- proof the individual has voluntarily chosen to accept a pardon or commutation
- copy of the individual’s proposed travel itinerary
- copy of the corresponding travel itinerary for the person escorting the individual in question to the FSM
Calvo was angered by the letter and threatened to declare Ruecho persona non grata in Guam. He later expanded that threat to include any FSM official who agreed with the FSM’s policy. Calvo hasn’t yet taken that step. It’s not even clear whether or not he would have the power to do so.
FSM’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs Lorin Robert told the Guam Daily Post that the requirements were to ensure that the convicted felons were provided “due process”, and that the convicts completely understood what they were agreeing to before being banned from Guam.
“For example, when the governor commutes, does that person from Chuuk know what he is talking about? You know the due process. The presence of an attorney or legal services, those kind of things, was there an attorney present when they met this Chuukese guy?” Robert asked the Guam Daily Post.
It’s not at all clear that each of the convicts who have been ejected from Guam truly understood what they were signing when they agreed not to return to Guam. One former convict from Chuuk told the Pacific Daily News (PDN) that when he heard that another Chuukese convict had gone back to Chuuk he asked his caseworker to see if he could get the same deal. He told PDN that he had been sentenced to five years in prison and he was tired of being in jail. Now that he has been back in Chuuk for over a month, he wants to go back to Guam because he said that it is very difficult to find a job in Chuuk.
“They said I cannot go back, I cannot step on Guam soil. But they told me that I can still go in the U.S. like Hawaii, mainland. But Guam, never,” he told PDN.
According to a statement from Calvo’s office provided to the Guam Daily Post, the rhetoric is strong. “It is interesting that the FSM is trying to rely on U.S. due process to deny FSM citizens a fundamental right to return home. When a person's sentence is commuted, he is just as free to return to his home country as if he had completed his sentence...It is ironic that the FSM government is seeking to deprive its citizens a fundamental right by hiding behind U.S. fundamental rights.”
Under the FSM Constitution and the FSM code, FSM citizens are provided with the right of due process and where the FSM code is silent on a matter, US case precedent can, and has been utilized in FSM courts.
Secretary Robert told Guam Daily Post that the Federated States of Micronesia Consul General's office in Guam doesn't have the authority to confirm information on the citizenship of individuals being removed. That information has to be addressed to the FSM government itself.
According to a PNC News First item, US Ambassador to the FSM Robert A. Riley has asked to have a face to face meeting with Governor Calvo over the deportation of “criminal FAS (Freely Associated States) migrants”