US Attorney Dan Bogden to Qasir Mukhtar – Tense Political Posture Between Pakistan and United States
United States Attorney Daniel Bogden Warns of “Tense Political Posture between Pakistan and United States” to justify ongoing detention of young “Dream Act” eligible Pakistani immigrant Qasir Mukhtar.
Although the national mood of the country favors leniency towards immigrants, United States Attorney for Nevada Daniel Bogden has taken a hard line approach towards a Pakistani immigrant currently being prosecuted by his office citing “the war which is ongoing in Afghanistan.”
Qasir Mukhtar came to the United States from Lahore, Pakistan at the age of 15 in search of opportunities for a better life. At age 27 he was working in a fried chicken restaurant in Brooklyn, New York and happily married to United States citizen when federal authorities contacted him accusing him of possession of 15 fake credit cards. He voluntarily met with federal agents believing the government had made a mistake wanting to cooperate with authorities to explain to them that they had the wrong suspect. Today he sits in a jail cell in Nevada with his fate resting in the hands of Bogden.
In approximately March 2012, Bogden indicted Qasir for alleged possession of 15 fake credit cards. Bogden has argued that Qasir, who voluntarily turned himself in to federal agents, should be detained in federal custody until his trial in November 2013. Although Bogden also indicted over 30 other defendants for the same alleged crime, many of whom have been released from detention by the federal government, he has argued that Qasir should remain detained because he poses a risk of flight to Pakistan if he is released. Numerous persons have submitted affidavits of support of Qasir indicating he is not a flight risk, including a New York City police detective who characterized him as a “responsible” individual.
Qasir’s attorney, former federal prosecutor Darshpaul (“Paul”) Singh Padda has argued strongly in court proceedings that Bogden is acting unfairly and violating Qasir’s Constitutional rights by keeping him detained for more than a year. Under federal law, criminal defendants charged in federal cases are generally released unless they might flee or pose a danger to the community. In Qasir’s case, Bogden has acknowledged in court proceedings that Qasir is not a danger to the community but believes he is a flight risk.
Padda has pointed out that Qasir is married to a United States citizen, has numerous family and friends in America, voluntarily turned himself in to authorities and has no incentive to flee. Bogden has rejected these arguments to the court and cited “the war which is ongoing in Afghanistan” and the “tense political posture between Pakistan and the United States” to justify the ongoing detention of Qasir. His office, however, has acknowledged in court proceedings that this case has nothing to do with terrorism or the war in Afghanistan. Padda has argued that Bogden’s office is essentially punishing Qasir for being Pakistani and an immigrant. “There is no legitimate reason to justify continued detention of Qasir when the government itself has admitted that he is not a danger to the community and the government has released other defendants in the same case that have significant criminal records” stated Padda. He added, “Qasir has no prior criminal record.”
In court papers Padda has argued there is no reason for Qasir to flee because he qualifies for relief under President Obama’s “Dream Act,” a recent change in immigration policy under which the federal government is no longer deporting individuals who came to the United States as children. According to a June 15, 2012 memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security, a “child” is defined as a person under the age of 16. In Qasir’s case, Padda has argued that he came to the United States at 15, has no prior criminal record and would therefore qualify for immigration relief under President Obama’s policy. Padda has argued in court that, for this reason, it is disappointing that Bogden has argued that Qasir is a flight risk in justification of his detention when President Obama has changed the immigration policy to provide relief to people like Qasir.
In support of Qasir’s release, Don Chairez, a well respected immigration attorney and former Clark County District Court judge, stated in an affidavit that “I have never had, or heard of a client, fleeing the country in the midst of immigration proceedings where that client stands a good chance of obtaining relief.” Chairez further added, “Based upon my review of Mr. Mukhtar’s circumstances, the manner in which he arrived in the United States and the June 15, 2012 memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security regarding prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children (below the age of 16), I believe Mr. Mukhtar would qualify for different types of immigration relief.”
See below for the full transcript of the Pretrial Release motion…