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." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.