7. The April 7th hearing
The INS trial attorney who handled the hearing on April 7, Gregory Fehlings, told us that the hearing was comparable to an arraignment. The alien is normally expected to provide the Court with an initial response to the charges against him, but there is no argument on the merits of the case. Fehlings said that because Mezer had already acknowledged deportability, Fehling's objective was simply to narrow the issues for the asylum argument.
Fehlings stated that because the District Counsel's Office did not receive the asylum application until the day of the hearing, he did not have time to study it before the hearing. Fehlings said that this is not unusual. He explained that asylum applications are normally the lengthiest documents in deportation proceedings and require considerable review, which the INS trial attorneys could not do at this type of initial hearing, at which there was expected to be no argument.
Fehlings said that he thumbed through Mezer's application at the April 7 hearing, but did not notice any of the information relating to potential terrorism, including the reference to Hamas. He added that if the INS trial attorney fails to notice significant information in an asylum application at the time of a Master Calendar Hearing, that information would probably not be discovered until the assigned trial attorney looked at the file again, which normally would occur approximately three weeks before the scheduled asylum hearing, during the preparation for this hearing.
Judge Ho told us that she merely glanced at the asylum application when she received it at the April 7 hearing, and that she also did not notice that Mezer had said he was suspected of being a terrorist in Israel. She added that the assertion about Hamas, in itself, was not persuasive evidence that Mezer was a terrorist or that he should be detained, particularly because Mezer denied the assertion and also because he returned for this hearing after he had posted bond.
According to the transcript of the hearing, Judge Ho asked Mezer's attorney, who appeared by telephone,22 how much time she expected the asylum hearing to take. When Mezer's attorney said that she anticipated a three-hour hearing, Judge Ho reviewed her calendar and determined that her first available date for an asylum hearing of this length was January 20, 1998.
In discussing potential resolutions of the case, Judge Ho and the parties agreed that it was not an option to deport Mezer to Canada, because Canada refused to accept him. Judge Ho also issued Mezer a routine advisory of the consequences of knowingly filing a frivolous asylum application -- a permanent bar from receiving any benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Mezer's attorney asked what led the judge to believe that Mezer's application was frivolous. Judge Ho explained that she was simply giving the advisory warning that she gave to all asylum applicants.
Fehlings informed Judge Ho of Mezer's Canadian assault conviction, without presenting any further discussion or argument that Mezer's bond should be revoked based on this offense. Fehlings told the OIG that this was the only charge that he raised because it was the only conviction on Mezer's "rap sheet" in his A-file. Fehlings said he did not expect the judge to revoke Mezer's bond based on this misdemeanor offense, which had resulted in probation and no jail time. He wanted to advise the judge of this conviction anyway, because of the possibility that the judge could find it significant. Fehlings said that, regardless of the judge's actions, at the least he wanted to assure that this information was included in the official record of the proceedings. Judge Ho simply acknowledged Mezer's conviction for simple assault without any further discussion of increasing or revoking his bond.
Fehlings stated that in his brief review of Mezer's A-file, he did not see any reference to alien smuggling and thus did not raise it with the court. Fehlings stated that even if he had seen the reference to alien smuggling in the Border Patrol reports, he was not sure whether this allegation would have had any impact on the bond.
Fehlings told us that he recalled asking Mezer off the record at some point during the hearing about his allegation of being persecuted in Hebron. Fehlings said that he commented to Mezer that it was his understanding that a Palestinian organization had recently seized control of the area in which Mezer lived, and therefore questioned whether Mezer still had a legitimate fear of persecution. Fehlings said that Mezer responded that the group did not have firm control over the area and Mezer still had a legitimate fear of persecution.
Fehlings said that even if he had seen the information about Hamas in Mezer's asylum application, he would not have asked the judge to revoke Mezer's bond because there was no evidence that Mezer was in fact associated with Hamas, and Mezer denied the accusation. Fehlings explained that if he had seen information in the asylum application that indicated a serious threat to public safety, the best he could have done, without supporting evidence, would have been to make a motion to the Court for additional time to investigate the allegations, during which Mezer still would have been released on bond. But Fehlings said that the INS often receives the kind of claim made by Mezer, and in his experience, immigration judges would not detain an alien in such a circumstance without further evidence that the alien was in fact a member of a terrorist organization. Fehlings stated that he would have contacted the FBI either if Mezer had actually acknowledged that he was a Hamas member or if the Border Patrol had placed anything in the file (or on the I-213) indicating that it had contacted the FBI about Mezer. Fehlings said, however, that because the Hamas reference was not uncommon and there was no proof that Mezer had any terrorist ties, Mezer's asylum application did not demonstrate that Mezer was a "safety threat" warranting these measures.23
Judge Ho said that the Court would not unilaterally revoke or reestablish a bond amount on its own initiative. Ho stated that it was the INS' role to move to change any bond status, and the Court could then address the merits of the bond if the alien sought reconsideration. Judge Ho added that even if the INS trial attorney had raised the information about Hamas contained in the asylum application and sought to revoke Mezer's bond, she would not have done so, since there was no evidence that Mezer was actually a member of Hamas and Mezer denied the association. She said that she would have needed further evidence, such as a report from the State Department providing documentation of Mezer's terrorist associations or activities, to justify his detention. She also noted that Mezer had been granted an Israeli travel document, which she thought Israel would not have issued to a known terrorist. Moreover, Mezer had already returned to court after being released, demonstrating his reliability.
INS trial attorneys whom we interviewed discussed some of the reasons that immigration judges do not normally detain aliens based only on their statements that they had been falsely accused of membership in a terrorist organization. First, they said that it was common for aliens to make such claims in support of asylum applications. INS Trial attorney Tammy Fitting estimated that on average, she saw one such claim each day during her work as a trial attorney. Another INS trial attorney said that many aliens falsely claim that their government accused them of terrorist activities to support an alleged "fear of persecution" in their country of origin which does not exist. This attorney also commented that from a policy perspective, there is a concern that if the United States were to routinely detain aliens -- without any evidence -- merely for revealing accusations about their membership in a terrorist organization, this would "chill" or deter valid asylum claims.24
8. Information from the Department of State regarding Mezer's asylum application
Judge Ho stated that after receiving an asylum application such as Mezer's, she normally forwards it to the Immigration Court's administrative staff, which sends it to the Department of State's Office of Asylum Affairs. Judge Ho said that while the State Department generally provides a "country conditions" report to assist the court in evaluating the applicant's assertions about his fear of persecution, she believed that the State Department reviewed each application thoroughly and would inform the Court of any specific negative information about an applicant for asylum, including information about any terrorist associations or activities.
Judge Ho said that the Department of State normally responds to requests within 30 days. After receiving the response, she reviews the application and, if she has any particular concerns, requests specific information about the person.
Consistent with this practice, Judge Ho sent Mezer's application to the Immigration Court's administrative staff, which sent it to the State Department on April 8, 1997, the day after the hearing. The Court's forwarding letter noted that Mezer "states that he will be persecuted on account of his/her race, religion, nationality, etc. if returned to his native country" and that "[n]either a determination of the applicant's credibility nor an evaluation of his/her claim has been made." The forwarding letter described Mezer's nationality as Jordanian, without further explanation that Mezer was a Palestinian living on the West Bank of Israel. This information was contained in the asylum application itself. The Court also placed a stamp on the application noting that Mezer was not detained.
On April 24, 1997, the Department of State Office of Asylum Affairs responded to the inquiry concerning Mezer by returning the immigration court's original letter with a sticker on it stating in pertinent part:
The Department of State's Office of Asylum Affairs does not have factual information about this applicant and will not be making specific comments on this application. Adjudicators may wish to refer to current Country Reports on Human Rights practices, or if produced for this country, to our Profile on Asylum Claims and Country Conditions.
Bill Bartlett, the Director of the State Department's Office of Asylum Affairs, told us that he has a predominantly part-time staff that fluctuates between the equivalent of five to nine full-time positions. These employees handle all asylum applications filed in the United States -- approximately 150,000 applications per year. Bartlett estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the applications are "affirmative" cases handled by INS asylum officers,25 and the rest are "defensive" cases handled by immigration judges. As explained below, although the forwarding letters generally ask the State Department to "review" the application for any pertinent information that the State Department could provide, Bartlett's staff hardly ever performs a "name check" for an applicant's possible terrorist associations absent a specific request, and lacks the time to thoroughly read many of the applications, particularly those before INS asylum officers.
Bartlett stated that the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1995 greatly reduced the role of his office in the asylum process. Before passage of this law, judges and asylum officers were supposed to wait for comments from the Department of State before reaching a decision on an asylum application. The new law and its regulations, specifically 8 CFR § 208.11, made it optional whether judges and asylum officers must wait for information from the Department of State before making a determination on the asylum request. Bartlett said that his office's principal role now is to provide a written appraisal of the political climate and political conditions within a particular country, which could be used to either support or refute an individual's claim of political persecution.
Bartlett added that while his office is still supposed to inform either the judge or an asylum officer if it discovers that an alien is a potential terrorist, his office does not have the resources to routinely perform "name checks" for terrorist information, and his office most often provides a country conditions report or places a sticker on the asylum application indicating that the Department of State does not have a specific comment about the individual involved. At the time of Mezer's application, Bartlett's office was placing this sticker on asylum applications that had not undergone terrorism checks and sending country condition reports to asylum officers for cases which had not even been read.
Bartlett said that the only time that his office reviews the background of specific individuals for possible terrorism is: (a) when his office is specifically requested to do so either by telephone or in writing by an asylum officer or an immigration judge; (b) when his office independently recognizes the name of a "high profile" alien; or (c) when his staff happens to read an application and notices information causing them to check further, such as an admission of terrorist activity in the application. Bartlett said that in the year that he has been the Director of the office, there have been only a "handful" of cases in which it has identified any information about possible terrorism by an asylum applicant.
Bartlett also stated that it was his understanding that the INS performed terrorism checks on asylum applicants. Contrary to Bartlett's understanding, John Lafferty, the INS Supervisory Asylum Officer for the seven-state region that includes Washington state, told the OIG that his office did not have the resources to perform its own terrorism checks on individuals. He said it is probably a good idea for his office to check for criminal activity outside of the United States, but to his knowledge, his office does not have access to any lookout system that would alert it to potential terrorist activity by an individual.26 Lafferty stated that the only cases in which INS performs terrorism checks are when an alien admits to aiding a terrorist organization, being a terrorist, or being forced to assist a terrorist organization. In these cases, Lafferty is required to forward the asylum application to the INS asylum office in Washington, D.C., which is able to access the State Department's "Tipoff" database, which contains information about suspected terrorists, for further information about possible terrorist activities by aliens.
Lafferty said that his asylum officers immediately send their asylum applications to the Department of State, and that they rely on the Department of State to inform the INS of any information that is available about an applicant's terrorist associations. Lafferty added that his officers would not request terrorism checks from INS based on an asylum applicant's assertion, such as Mezer's, that he was suspected of being a terrorist, as long as the applicant denied such a connection.
Bartlett said that his office was unable to confirm whether it performed any terrorism "name check" on Mezer's asylum application, but he doubted that such a check was conducted. He noted that Mezer's assertions about being an accused terrorist were common in such applications, and Bartlett saw nothing in the application that would have caused his office to request a further check for terrorism. Bartlett estimated that as many as one in ten Palestinian asylum applicants claim they are falsely accused of being associated with an organization, such as Hamas, with possible terrorist affiliations. Bartlett further said that his office would place less emphasis on applications of nondetained individuals such as Mezer based on the reasoning that judges would be unlikely to release potentially dangerous individuals without even requesting a specific terrorism check from the State Department.
Bartlett stated that while his office should do whatever it can to help identify potential terrorists and support asylum adjudicators, the final responsibility for conducting name checks on asylum cases rests with those charged with adjudicating such claims. Nevertheless, Bartlett stated that he personally believes that his office should conduct additional checks on asylum applicants for terrorism concerns. After Mezer's arrest in Brooklyn, Bartlett drafted a memorandum to his staff: (1) directing that in the future all cases suggesting the applicant's involvement in terrorism would be brought to his attention as soon as possible; (2) suggesting that the staff should also check available State Department resources to determine if it has information about the individual; and (3) announcing that he was going to amend the language of the State Department stickers to eliminate the possible misunderstanding by Department of Justice adjudicators that "we have thoroughly checked the Department's [of State's] resources when we may not have done so."
Bartlett said that when his office does investigate possible terrorist concerns, it typically request a record check from the State Department's Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS). CLASS is an unclassified computerized lookout system maintained by the Bureau of Consular Affairs which is available online to 115 embassies around the world. While CLASS mainly contains visa refusal records from U.S. consular offices abroad, it also contains information from the State Department's TIPOFF database, which is used by the intelligence community to identify known or suspected terrorists.
Bartlett said that when there is actual evidence of terrorism or an alien admits to membership in a terrorist organization, his office contacts the State Department's Counter Terrorism Section (CTS), a policy office with expertise about the current status of terrorist groups. Bartlett explained that in these instances, his office would "clear" the accuracy of its response to the immigration judge with the CTS. Bartlett added that there have been no more than five such cases in the year that he has directed his office.
9. Rescheduling of Mezer's asylum hearing
Although Judge Ho scheduled Mezer's asylum application for her next available date, January 20, 1998, when Court Administrator Joseph Neifert reviewed Mezer's file, he determined that under new procedures imposed by a memorandum from the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) on March 15, 1996, Mezer's asylum hearing had to be scheduled for an "expedited hearing" within 180 days of the filing of his application. Therefore, on April 16, 1997, the Court Administrator informed the INS and sent a letter to Mezer's attorney rescheduling Mezer's hearing for June 23, 1997, rather than January 20, 1998. Because Judge Ho would not be available to hear the case on the new date, the case was assigned to another immigration judge, Judge Kendall Warren.
Mezer's attorney told the OIG that a few days after Mezer had filed his asylum application with the court, she was informed about "resettlement limitations" which she thought might preclude Mezer from receiving asylum. She stated that she was told by an associate that when a country such as Canada had already granted Mezer asylum, and Mezer did not allege additional persecution in Canada, U.S. immigration law did not permit Mezer to obtain asylum status in the United States as well. See 8 CFR § 208(b)(2)(A)(vi). The attorney stated that because of Judge Ho's warning at the April 7th hearing, she became concerned that Mezer's application would be deemed frivolous, and as a result, he would neither be able to go back to Canada nor attain asylum in the United States. At best, Mezer would have to seek admission to a third country.
Mezer's attorney said that Mezer called her regularly about the status of his case. During April 1997, she told him about the new hearing date of June 23. She also told him about her belief that he should withdraw his asylum application because it could be deemed frivolous. She said that her notes indicate that in a conversation on April 30, 1997, Mezer told her that he might therefore return to Canada on his own.
10. Withdrawal of Mezer's asylum application
Mezer's attorney stated that her notes reflect that on June 1, 1997, Mezer telephoned her and informed her that he wanted to transfer his case to the New York INS district. She said that she believed that Mezer was in New York at the time of the call. According to her notes, on June 11, 1997, Mezer called her again and said that he was in New York and that he had consulted with another immigration attorney, who also believed that Mezer would not win his asylum claim. Mezer told his attorney that he was going to Canada and authorized her to withdraw his asylum application. She said that at some point in the conversation, she advised Mezer that he should fly to Montreal, because by arriving in the interior of the country, as opposed to arriving at the Canadian border, Mezer would face a lesser risk of deportation.
On June 12, 1997, Mezer's attorney filed a "Notice of Withdrawal of Asylum Application" with the Seattle immigration court, on the grounds that Mezer "intended to leave the United States prior to the date set for the hearing in this matter." She told us that approximately two days later, on June 14, 1997, Mezer called her and told her that he was in Canada. Mezer did not tell his attorney how he got there or where he was in Canada. Mezer's attorney said that she informed Mezer that in order to obtain the return of his bond money, Mezer would need to provide certification (called a Verification of Departure form) from the Canadian government that he in fact was in Canada.
11. The June 23rd hearing
After Mezer's attorney filed the motion to withdraw Mezer's asylum claim, the Immigration Court converted Mezer's scheduled asylum hearing on June 23, 1997, to a status hearing. On June 23, Judge Kendall Warren presided over this status hearing. The INS was represented by trial attorney Gregory Fehlings, and Mezer's attorney again appeared on Mezer's behalf, this time in person.
Fehlings told us that while he was able to briefly review Mezer's asylum application before this hearing, the assertions about Hamas were not particularly significant to him, since Mezer specifically denied that he was a member of this group. Judge Warren stated that he also glanced through Mezer's asylum application before the hearing but did not study it as carefully as he would have if he were ruling of the merits of an application. Judge Warren said that he probably saw Mezer's reference to being a suspected member of Hamas, but that this would not concern him because Mezer denied the charge. Judge Warren stated that, in his experience, it was not unusual for an asylum applicant to state that he was suspected of being a terrorist.
Judge Warren added that, on the other hand, it would be highly unusual for an alien to actually admit he was a member of a terrorist organization, and if that occurred Judge Warren would deny the asylum claim. Judge Warren said that in any event, it was the INS' responsibility to initiate an investigation as to whether the alien was in fact a member of a terrorist organization or had committed terrorist acts, and no adverse information had been provided by the INS in this case. Hesaid that generally an immigration judge has neither the authority nor the resources to conduct an investigation of an alien in proceedings before the court, beyond considering the evidence submitted by the parties.
During the hearing, Mezer's attorney represented that Mezer had telephoned her and told her that he was in Canada. Judge Warren suggested that since Mezer's departure had not been verified, Mezer should be given a 30-day period for voluntary departure. This meant that after 30 days, the order of deportation would take effect, and if Mezer was located in the United States after 30 days, he could be deported immediately without additional proceedings. Judge Warren explained to the OIG that he could have simply ordered Mezer deported for failing to appear for the hearing, but that there was an issue as to the court's jurisdiction over Mezer based on Mezer's representation to his attorney that he had already departed the United States. Judge Warren also stated that when asylum applicants notify the court in advance of the hearing that they have decided to withdraw their applications and depart the United States, he usually encourages the parties to agree to allowing the alien a period of time to depart voluntarily to avoid the harsh consequences of a deportation order.27 Judge Warren explained that he also did not want to simply terminate Mezer's deportation proceedings, because if Mezer was later found in the United States, the INS would have to rearrest Mezer and initiate deportation proceedings all over again.
The parties ultimately agreed to a 60-day period for voluntary departure.28 According to this agreement, a formal order of deportation would automatically take effect 60 days after the hearing, and Mezer would be deported without additional proceedings if he were later found in the United States.
At the hearing, Fehlings also asked Judge Warren for a finding as to Mezer's nationality in case he had not left the country and needed to be deported. The issue arose as to whether Mezer had the right to return to Canada. Although Canada had refused to accept Mezer's return after his arrest, Fehlings, Mezer's attorney, and Judge Warren all indicated uncertainty as to whether Mezer had legally abandoned his right to return to Canada when he attempted to enter the United States. Because of this uncertainty, Judge Warren ordered that if Mezer were found in the United States beyond the 60-day voluntary return period, the INS could attempt to deport him to Canada, but if Canada refused his return, he would be deported to Jordan. Both the INS and Mezer's attorney, on Mezer's behalf, waived appeal of Judge Warren's entire order.
The INS did not further investigate Mezer's attorney's representation that Mezer had left the United States. In theory, Mezer had a strong motivation for providing verification if he was in fact in Canada: to receive his $5,000 in bond money. But the INS never received any certification that Mezer was in Canada, and on July 31, 1997, before the 60-day voluntary return period elapsed, Mezer was arrested in the Brooklyn apartment.
12. Motion after Mezer's arrest in Brooklyn
On August 1, 1997, immediately after Mezer's arrest in Brooklyn, INS trial attorney Fehlings filed a motion with the Immigration Court, requesting that Judge Warren "reopen, reconsider, and set aside his order of June 23, 1997, granting Respondent 60 days voluntary departure." The motion stated that Mezer "has been arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to bomb the New York transit [sic]." The motion stated that Mezer was in police custody, had been hospitalized for a gunshot wound, had a 1995 conviction in Canada for assault, and "had admitted `he had been previously arrested in Israel and accused of being a member of a known terrorist organization.'" Fehlings told the OIG that he filed this motion, in accord with his standard procedure, to ensure that an alien held on a criminal charge would not be released without prior notice to INS, so that INS could pursue appropriate deportation proceedings.
Later that same day, Seattle District Counsel David Hopkins filed a memorandum with the Immigration Court in which he withdrew Fehlings' Motion to Reopen. The memorandum did not provide any explanation for this withdrawal. Fehlings told the OIG that Hopkins decided that because Mezer would undoubtedly be held until August 18, 1997, 60 days after the June 23, 1997, order, the motion to reopen was unnecessary: Judge Warren's ruling would become final and Mezer would automatically be deported upon his release from criminal detention.
Since his arrest, Mezer has been continuously detained. On August 4, 1997, the INS filed a Notice of Action with the United States Marshals' Service, requesting that it contact the INS prior to Mezer's release if the criminal case was resolved, if Mezer's bail was reduced and he was released on his own recognizance, or if Mezer paid the bail and was eligible to be released.
22 Mezer retained his attorney shortly before the April 7 hearing. She is a private attorney who practiced in both Boise, Idaho, and Seattle, Washington. She said she would occasionally represent immigrants in Seattle hearings via telephone. INS attorney Fehlings told us that this is a common practice and that attorneys can conduct virtually all their hearings by telephone if the alien and the INS agree. Fehlings said that the telephone policy benefitted not only the alien but also the INS, which could present the testimony of government witnesses, such as Border Patrol Agents, from remote locations. Fehlings generally agreed to telephonic hearings for all but the hearings on the merits of asylum applications.
23 Fehlings said that even if he had contacted the FBI, he doubted that Mezer would have been detained pending the FBI investigation, based on the mere suspicion that he was a terrorist.
24 After Mezer's arrest in Brooklyn, questions have arisen about whether the procedures of the Alien Terrorist Removal Court should have been invoked as a result of Mezer's references to Hamas in his asylum application. These procedures were enacted as part of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214. This law provides in pertinent part:
[I]n any case in which the Attorney General has classified information that an alien is an alien terrorist, the Attorney General may seek removal of the alien by filing an application with the removal court that contains . . . a statement of the facts and circumstances relied on by the Department of Justice to establish probable cause that: (i) the alien is an alien terrorist; (ii) the alien is physically present in the United States; and (iii) with respect to such alien, removal under Title II would pose a risk to the national security of the United States.
INA § 503(a)(1)(D)(iii). These provisions did not appear to apply to Mezer because there was no evidence, classified or unclassified, that he was in fact a terrorist, apart from his claim that he was falsely accused of being a member of Hamas.
25 Asylum officers are INS employees who adjudicate "affirmative" asylum claims. Such claims occur when illegal aliens file asylum applications directly with the INS before they are arrested. This provides the alien two chances to obtain asylum, since the alien can appeal any decision by an asylum officer to an immigration judge. According to Bartlett, asylum officers typically send asylum applications to his office seeking a general country conditions report, although asylum officers occasionally telephone or write with more specific questions about individuals.
26 Lafferty said that before an application comes to his office it goes through INS' National Service Center (NSC) in Nebraska, which accesses the INS Central Index System (CIS) to determine if the INS has a record on the applicant. Lafferty said the primary purpose of this inquiry is to determine if another INS file exists. Sometimes NSC gets a "hit," which in most cases consists of a criminal record in the United States. The NSC forwards this information to the INS requestor, who can then access CIS with a name and date of birth. Lafferty said his office also has access to the Non-Immigrant System (NIS), which provides information on when, where, and how an alien entered the United States, and whether the alien filled out a declaration form and was cleared through INS and U.S. Customs.
Lafferty said his office does not have access to a lookout system that would identify alleged terrorists or individuals who should be excluded from this country. Adjudication Officer William Merchant, who works at NSC, confirmed that NSC does not perform these terrorism checks on affirmative asylum applications.
27 Potential consequences include: deportation without a hearing upon subsequent apprehension in the United States, a potential felony charge if apprehended in the United States again after leaving under a deportation order, and the permanent loss of government benefits available to legal immigrants.
28 Judge Warren proposed to the parties that if Mezer had not actually left the United States, then after 30 days, an order of deportation would take effect. Judge Warren then explained that he could not terminate the proceedings on that date unless Mezer's attorney could verify Mezer's departure. When the judge asked if his solution was suitable to both parties, Fehlings responded, "That's fine, your honor. What was it 60 days?" Judge Warren said "Well, I was going to say 30." Mezer's attorney immediately said, "I'll take 60." At the judge's prompting, Fehlings then agreed to 60 days, stating that it was "standard" under the new law anyway. Section 240B of the INA provides that the Court may grant an alien up to 60 days to voluntarily depart at the conclusion of deportation proceedings.