July 14, 2007
Many Detainees were Prohibited from Making One Phone Call
From NYTimes.com: The number of immigrants detained by the United States has grown from 90,000 to 283,000 over the past five years, and many were improperly barred from making even a single phone call to a lawyer, congressional investigators reported this week.
Detainees' calls were completed 35 to 74 percent of the time each month between November 2005 and November 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office, Congress's audit arm.
The United States uses a criminal-detention model to hold immigrants, although most are charged with administrative violations of immigration laws. The detainees are not guaranteed the protections routinely provided to U.S. citizens or criminal defendants, including access to public defenders. As a result, federal authorities have agreed to 38 nonbinding detention guidelines with the American Bar Association as a form of due process, including providing telephone access to legal counsel.
"Without sufficient internal control policies and procedures in place, ICE is unable to offer assurance that detainees can access legal services, file external grievances and obtain assistance from their consulates," the July 6 GAO report said, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
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