MALDEF

Lawyers Difficult To Obtain in Immigration Cases

From the Los Angeles Times:
Unlike defendants in criminal courts, individuals in immigration court do not have the right to free representation. Though there are no local statistics on the number of people who appeared in immigration court without lawyers, 58% of respondents nationwide were unrepresented, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the courts.

"Immigration laws are extremely complex," said Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Assn. of Immigration Judges. "It's a tremendous aid to us when someone is competently represented."

But finding an inexpensive or free attorney can be extremely difficult, advocates and lawyers said. And the stakes are high: Foreigners can face deportation, family separation and even political persecution.
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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund