Monday, October 17, 2011

No Right to Free Counsel

While individuals facing criminal charges have a right to free counsel if they cannot afford hiring their own, individuals detained by immigration enforcement officials do not. 

Immigration detainees are provided with contact information for non – profit organizations in their area that can provide free or low cost services.  However if they cannot find an organization to take on their case or they cannot afford an attorney, they will enter the intimidating walls of the immigration court alone and unprepared. 

This steadfast rule may at times save taxpayers money however there are times that this rule contributes more to the debt of this country.  By example, many immigrant detainees head to court and are afforded multiple hearings and multiple opportunities to make their case, obtain counsel, obtain the proper documentation a process that gets expensive and time consuming.  Furthermore, while this process is lengthened many sit in detainment again costing taxpayers more and more money.  Perhaps a better policy than no right to free counsel would be a policy that allows for free counsel in cases where there was an obvious need.  For example, a child who cannot communicate properly, an adult with a disability or a case extreme in nature.   A better policy must be designed to ensure detainees are receiving the proper guidance as to the United States immigration procedures, rules, and documentation requirements so that cases can be dealt with in a more cost efficient and humanitarian manner.

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