Feeds

Homeland Security backs deportation with Wikipedia

Immigration Judge approves

The Department of Homeland Security has attempted to justify the deportation of an asylum seeker using an entry to Wikipedia.

This convinced a US Immigration Judge. But thankfully, there are clearer thinkers in other parts of the American government. Last week, a federal court of appeals finally ruled that using Wikipedia to decide the fate of asylum seekers is a bad idea.

After entering the country illegally using a fake passport, Lamilem Badasa sought asylum on the strength of an Ethiopian travel document known as a "laissez-passer." But the DHS told the presiding Immigration Judge that this document stopped short of establishing Badasa's identity, and as proof, it pulled out Wikipedia's description of a laissez-passer.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia edited by anonymous members of a worldwide cult. But after perusing the site's "laissez-passer" entry, the Immigration Judge sided with the DHS, denying Badasa's application for asylum.

When Badasa appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the BIA upheld the judge's decision. But it did take issue with the Wikipedia evidence. The BIA said that it did "not condone or encourage the use of resources such as Wikipedia.com in reaching pivotal decisions in immigration proceedings" and that the Immigration Judge's decision "may have appeared more solid had Wikipedia.com not been referenced."

Well, that wasn't enough for Badasa, and the asylum seeker kicked things up to federal court. With last week's three page ruling (PDF), the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit didn't just criticize the use of Wikipedia. It said things can't be decided without more-reliable evidence that Badasa's laissez-passer is inadequate, remanding the case back to that Immigration Judge for further consideration.

And so, the Eighth Circuit is less laughable than the Seventh. Earlier this summer, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided a long-running court case by citing Wikipedia's entry on "wear and tear." ®

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.