Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ICE detention policy an obstacle to legal representation, says study


New Yorkers facing deportation proceedings who are detained elsewhere or transferred to out-of-state detention facilities--even to nearby New Jersey--are even less likely to gain legal representation, finds a December 2011 study by the Cardozo School of Law.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement decides whether to transfer detainees principally based on operational considerations, primarily bed space, the report notes.

An analysis of the 9,098 individuals resident in New York but detained or transferred elsewhere, mainly Texas and Louisiana, but in some cases only as far as Newark, N.J., shows  a representation rate of approximately 20 percent, versus a comparable 40 percent representation rate in New York. The individuals were arrested between Oct. 1, 2005 and July 13, 2010.

Access to counsel is "closely connected to ICE's initial decision to venue a case in New York City Immigration Court or to transfer the case out of state," the report says.

The report goes on to say that at least about 60 percent of those detained by ICE qualify for release on bond or their own recognizance and so need not be held in any facility. Most individuals facing deportation don't also face criminal charges, meaning they should be eligible for release.

The group of people most likely to successfully fight removal charges are those who have been both released from detention and have secured legal representation, the report notes.  
For more:

- download the Cardozo School of Law report, "Accessing Justice; The Availability and Adequacy of Counsel in Immigration Proceedings" (.pdf)

Fierce Homeland Security

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