Feeds

Homeland Security backs deportation with Wikipedia

Immigration Judge approves

The essential guide to IT transformation

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.