Los Angeles — A federal court here has ordered the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to stop ''coercing or persuading'' Salvadoran refugees to leave the United States when they are arrested as illegal aliens, instead of telling them that they may file for asylum or have a hearing before an immigration judge.
Monitor contributor Christina Ravashiere reports that the court, ruling on a suit brought by the National Center for Immigrants' Rights, said INS agents sometimes verbally and physically abuse Salvadoran detainees, give them false information, and improperly hold them in solitary confinement. He issued a nationwide injunction against the agency, ordering it to give refugees written notice of their right to apply for asylum and more time to meet with attorneys while in detention.
In addition, the INS was given 10 days to set up a national system giving 24 -hour notice to attorneys and family members of refugees who are being returned to El Salvador.
While refugees from communist countries have been ''welcomed with open arms, '' an official of the immigrants' rights center said that ''those from right-wing countries supported by Washington have been met by a hostile immigration service bent on their . . . expulsion regardless of the merits of their asylum claims.''
The government has said it intends to appeal the ruling.