Push For Gov't-Funded Deportation Defense Gains Steam

Push For Gov't-Funded Deportation Defense Gains Steam 1 Immigration News Push For Gov't-Funded Deportation Defense Gains Steam

Programs that provide government-funded attorneys to noncitizens facing deportation are becoming more common in cities and states across the country, and immigration advocates hope to harness that momentum to scale up those initiatives to the federal level.As the Biden administration plans to increase deportations in connection with the possible end of a pandemic-related restriction on border crossings, immigration advocates are pushing to build out programs that use public funds to pay lawyers from legal aid groups to represent migrants.While advocates acknowledge political gridlock on Capitol Hill dims the short-term odds of establishing a federal program, they say the movement is gaining steam as more local jurisdictions provide funding for deportation defense.”This is a path worth pursuing, even as we fight for the bigger picture,” Kica Matos, the vice president of initiatives at the Vera Institute of Justice, told Law360.Unlike federal criminal defendants, people in immigration proceedings don’t have a right to a government-funded attorney, meaning they often rely on nonprofit legal aid organizations. But those organizations often work on tight budgets that make it impossible for them to provide a lawyer to everyone who needs one.Some cities and states have stepped in to try to alleviate the problem by partnering with legal aid groups and directing taxpayer dollars toward their efforts to provide legal counsel to noncitizens who would otherwise have to make their case on their own against a trained government attorney.Local access to counsel programs not only increase the fairness of individual deportation proceedings, but also serve as a check on the whole system, said Lindsay Nash, the co-director of the immigration clinic at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.”They can identify major problems and major violations of regulations, of laws, of the Constitution, that are happening in immigration court in a way that would never happen if there weren’t lawyers in there seeing a large number of cases and being able to identify trends and recurring problems,” Nash said.Since New York City launched a seminal pilot initiative in 2013, dozens of cities and counties around the country have implemented similar programs.In April, San Diego became the first border county in the nation to launch a publicly funded deportation defense program. And earlier this month, the city of Los Angeles cemented a pilot program to provide its noncitizen residents with free legal counsel in deportation proceedings.The next stage of the fight, advocates say, will focus on establishing statewide programs to provide universal representation for noncitizens facing deportation.Colorado and Nevada both passed bills last year that will provide some state funding for deportation defense. But neither piece of legislation goes as far as the Access to Representation Act, a bill being considered by lawmakers in New York state that would create a right to free legal representation for anyone in New York who is facing deportation and can’t afford a lawyer.Enshrining the right to an attorney in the law would eliminate uncertainty around funding streams for deportation defense programs, said Nicole Catá, the director of immigrant rights policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, which backs the bill.”Year after year, we have to continue to fight for funding for these programs,” Catá said. “It puts legal service providers in an untenable position where some of their cases are taking well over a year to resolve, so they’re not sure how much to budget for.”Proponents of access to counsel are also exploring other models for providing deportation defense at the sub-federal level.Earlier this month, a coalition of immigrant legal aid groups created the Midwest Immigrant Defenders Alliance, or MIDA, in partnership with the public defender’s office in Cook County, Illinois, which already has a program that represents immigrants in both county court and in the Chicago immigration court.The MIDA pilot initiative will provide free legal counsel to noncitizens one day a week in Chicago immigration court, which handles cases of migrants from around the Midwest, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky.The groups involved in the coalition say they hope their work will inform the findings of a task force set up this year by the state of Illinois to study the possibility of creating a statewide deportation defense program.”The goal is to study what the program is able to accomplish in this pilot year and hopefully scale up to get to a point where we can guarantee counsel for anyone who is unrepresented and cannot afford private counsel,” said Ruben Loyo, associate director of the detention project at the National Immigrant Justice Center, one of the groups involved in MIDA.Still, advocates say the federalized nature of the immigration enforcement system means statewide and even regional programs may not be able to address gaps in representation that can occur when a noncitizen is transferred from one detention facility to another.President Joe Biden’s administration has thrown its support behind the idea of increasing noncitizens’ access to counsel. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice urged immigration judges to support pro bono work, and Biden’s most recent budget proposal called for $150 million to support access to legal representation in the immigration courts, with a proposal to extend the program for 10 years.But advocates say the political radioactivity of immigration makes it unlikely that Congress will establish a federal deportation defense program in the near future.”It shouldn’t be something that’s politicized, but it is,” said Viviana Westbrook, the state and local advocacy attorney at the aid group Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., or CLINIC. “A lot of states, with immigration, have decided we can’t wait. We need to move forward.”–Editing by Jill Coffey.

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If You Say You're Filing A BIA Brief, File It, 3rd Circ. Says

If You Say You're Filing A BIA Brief, File It, 3rd Circ. Says 2 Immigration News If You Say You're Filing A BIA Brief, File It, 3rd Circ. Says

By Lauren Berg (May 20, 2022, 9:20 PM EDT) — Petitioners before the Board of Immigration Appeals don’t have to file a brief supporting their appeal, but if they say they will and do not, the board can dismiss the case, the Third Circuit ruled Friday in affirming the dismissal of a Salvadoran man’s asylum request.In a nine-page precedential opinion, the three-judge panel dismissed Jorge Argueta-Orellana’s petition for review after finding that the BIA did not overstep its bounds in dismissing his appeal after his attorney failed to file a promised supporting brief.”The Board of Immigration Appeals gives petitioners a choice: You need not file a brief supporting your…

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'Seriously, We Are Done': Judge Quits Trial, Says Atty Lied

'Seriously, We Are Done': Judge Quits Trial, Says Atty Lied 3 Immigration News 'Seriously, We Are Done': Judge Quits Trial, Says Atty Lied

By Craig Clough (May 20, 2022, 9:16 PM EDT) — A California judge abruptly declared a mistrial in a sex trafficking case and recused himself after defense counsel complained that jurors may have seen the defendant’s feet shackled, telling an attorney from the Federal Public Defender’s Office that he is stepping down because he thinks “intentional misrepresentations” are being made.According to a transcript of the proceedings in the criminal trial of Mei Xing, who is accused of engaging in sex trafficking while operating a massage parlor in South El Monte, Calif., U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright got into a heated exchange with Callie G. Steele of the Federal Public…

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Watchdog Says Migrants Got No COVID Tests Before Flights

Watchdog Says Migrants Got No COVID Tests Before Flights 4 Immigration News Watchdog Says Migrants Got No COVID Tests Before Flights

By Rae Ann Varona (May 20, 2022, 8:51 PM EDT) — A U.S. Department of Homeland Security watchdog found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement were not ensuring migrants were tested for COVID-19 before being transported on domestic commercial flights, despite guidelines requiring it to do so.Upon review of the extent to which ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations mitigated the risk of COVID-19 spread on domestic commercial flights, the DHS’ Office of Inspector General said migrants many times boarded flights without any record that they were tested for COVID-19.”We identified numerous instances where ERO could not provide evidence that single adults, family units, and [unaccompanied children] were tested for COVID-19 before…

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Justices' Deference To Immigration Court Is Concerning

Justices' Deference To Immigration Court Is Concerning 5 Immigration News Justices' Deference To Immigration Court Is Concerning

By César García Hernández (May 20, 2022, 6:13 PM EDT) — Who should suffer when an immigration judge messes up? The immigrant, a divided majority of the U.S. Supreme Court announced this week in Patel v. Garland.The court concluded that federal courts can’t review factual assessments made by immigration judges even when the immigration judge is wrong.Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote the majority opinion, which Chief Justice John Roberts joined along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh.Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.This case involved Pankajkumar Patel, who entered the U.S. without the government’s permission three…

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BREAKING: La. Judge Slams Brakes On Biden's Title 42 Repeal

BREAKING: La. Judge Slams Brakes On Biden's Title 42 Repeal 6 Immigration News BREAKING: La. Judge Slams Brakes On Biden's Title 42 Repeal

By Alyssa Aquino (May 20, 2022, 5:27 PM EDT) — A Louisiana federal judge ordered the Biden administration to keep intact the Trump-era order allowing for the swift expulsion of migrants, ruling Friday that two dozen states would likely prove they weren’t provided enough notice when the administration announced plans to end it. U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays agreed that the state coalition would face irreparable harm if the order, known as Title 42, is lifted as scheduled on May 23, and issued a nationwide injunction that would prevent the Biden administration from terminating the policy while the court case continues.–Editing by Michael Watanabe….

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Hungarian Pop Star Says Feds Mistook Travel Authorization

Hungarian Pop Star Says Feds Mistook Travel Authorization 7 Immigration News Hungarian Pop Star Says Feds Mistook Travel Authorization

By Rae Ann Varona (May 20, 2022, 4:20 PM EDT) — A Hungarian pop star countered the Biden administration’s bid to dismiss his suit accusing U.S. immigration officials of unlawfully detaining him for over a month, saying the officials were the ones who misconstrued his travel authorization, not him.The government had told the Florida federal court earlier this month that the automated Electronic System for Travel Authorization document that Zsolt Kocsor relied on to enter the U.S. only guaranteed automated travel but not entry into the U.S.Kocsor, also known as Kozso, responded Thursday saying U.S. Customs and Border Protection has noted that the ESTA document was used for travel “to…

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ADI Lied About Breaking Export Law, Engineer On Trial Says

ADI Lied About Breaking Export Law, Engineer On Trial Says 8 Immigration News ADI Lied About Breaking Export Law, Engineer On Trial Says

By Chris Villani (May 20, 2022, 1:32 PM EDT) — A former Analog Devices Inc. engineer on trial for trade secrets theft says the semiconductor company engaged in the same alleged misconduct and then lied about it through its Quinn Emmanuel lawyer who was formerly acting U.S. attorney in Boston, an accusation the lawyer rejected Friday as “complete nonsense.”In a motion filed late Thursday, lawyers for Haoyang Yu said they want to question Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP’s William Weinreb about whether ADI falsely claimed to have the necessary export licenses to send computer design files to a company in Taiwan.The government charged Yu with violating export restrictions by…

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La. Judge Won't Transfer Challenge To Biden Asylum Rule

La. Judge Won't Transfer Challenge To Biden Asylum Rule 9 Immigration News La. Judge Won't Transfer Challenge To Biden Asylum Rule

By Mike LaSusa (May 19, 2022, 7:14 PM EDT) — A Louisiana federal judge on Wednesday denied the federal government’s bid to transfer a lawsuit brought by a handful of states challenging President Joe Biden’s policy vesting asylum officers with greater power over asylum.The White House had urged the Louisiana court to either dismiss the case or transfer it to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing the Immigration and Nationality Act specifies the D.C. federal court as the only proper forum for reviewing regulations that implement part of the immigration law dealing with asylum claims.The states challenging Biden’s asylum policy change had countered that the Immigration…

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