Monday, January 08, 2007

Pro Se Representation in Immigration court

The attached Washington Post article explores the problem of asylum seekers and immigrants who have to appear in front of an immigration judge pro se -without legal representation. In the immigration courts, unlike the criminal courts, asylum seekers or undocumented aliens are not privy to a court-appointed lawyer. Consequently, many who do not have the money for a lawyer or who are not picked up by a big law firm on a pro bono basis, find themselves in an adversarial hearing in front of an immigration judge and I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) lawyer.
One of the things that our course Human Rights-Human Wrongs does is provide help to asylum seekers who do not have legal representation. We cannot provide legal counsel to them or represent them in court, but we can help provide all the supporting documentation. We also work with a local not-for-profit organization, PIRC (Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center) which does provide legal representation for detained asylum seekers in York County Prison.

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