Feeds

Homeland Security backs deportation with Wikipedia

Immigration Judge approves

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.