Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Court Orders Counsel in Removal Proceedings for Mentally Disabled Immigrants

The L.A. Times reports on a potentially cutting edge immigration case.  A U.S. district court has ruled that two mentally disabled immigrants must be given lawyers in removal proceedings. This is one of the few times that a court has ordered representation for an individual in removal proceedings.

The Immigration & Nationality Act offers a qualified right to counsel at no expense to the government.  This means that indigent noncitizens in removal proceedings, unlike indigent criminal defendants in criminal prosecutions, are not guaranteed a right to counsel.  Not surprisingly, unrepresented noncitizens are much more likely to be ordered deported than represented ones.

 170x123%20at%2072%20Dolly%20Gee Photo Courtesy of Chinese American Heroes

U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee, the daughter of immigrants from rural China, entered the order shortly before Christmas. Both men have been free pending a bail hearing.



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