Immigrants Denied Counsel in Removal Proceedings

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Jan 09, 2009

Editor's Note: An editorial in New York's El Diario/La Prensa titled "The Department of Injustice" blasts this week's decision by Attorney General Michael Mukasey that denies immigrants in removal proceedings the right to representation.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) managed to toss in yet another example of its warped perception of due process by denying immigrants the right to effective counsel. The Obama administration must reverse this un-American policy.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued a decision stating that immigrants in removal proceedings do not have a legal right to counsel, or to effective representation.

Mukasey’s interpretation is that immigrants facing deportation cannot petition to have their cases re-opened because of the errors or incompetence of attorneys. Rather, according to the attorney general, they can throw themselves at the mercy of the DOJ’s discretion.

Mukasey’s slap at due process follows another undemocratic maneuver. He refused to allow meaningful public commentary on his plans to revoke the long-held right to appeal a case based on ineffective counsel.

The Bush administration’s decision to strip the rights of immigrants and to squash debate are part of an attempt to institutionalize bad practices at the Justice Department. Earlier this year, for example, we learned that some immigration judges were appointed through a political process, in violation of federal civil service laws.

The next attorney general could be Eric Holder. If confirmed, he must act quickly to undo this latest injustice by the Bush Administration.

The failure to do so could negatively impact immigrants and citizens alike. A traveling immigration forum makes that connection in a way that too many people ignore. This Saturday in New York, citizens are invited to give their testimony about how their lives have been affected by immigration policies that yank families apart.

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User Comments

TrueJustice on Feb 02, 2009 at 00:37:32 said:

When you accept your government denying anyone proper justice, you accept your government abusing the rights of anyone and eventually, everyone. And if it doesn't happen to you immediately, it will happen to someone you care about soon enough. We must always demand full justice for everyone.

nativesayyeswecan on Jan 19, 2009 at 09:44:21 said:

Human rights are fundamental. They supersede sovereignty. Our founders believed this. They believed that government legitimacy emanated only from the people. People held inalienable rights that could not be denied by any government without due process of law. Our federal courts, organized under article III of the constitution recognize this principle. The administrative courts of the executive branch, namely the immigration courts, are less bound by this same principle. This is dangerous. The precedents used by courts denying this rights to illegals can be used to deny a citizens rights in the future. That so called citizens such as nativessayno would willingly cede these rights to the greatest threat identified by our own founding fathers to our liberty is indicative of his/her ignorance. Those who would willingly give up their freedom for security deserve neither. It appears that for the know-nothings it is necessary to find a group of the "other" to disparage and scapegoat in order to bring unity to the "nation" of "citizens". This was also the philosophical underpinning of the Nazi regime. Read your Carl Schmitt.

Nancyf on Jan 15, 2009 at 13:02:49 said:

You don\'t have a clue what you\'re talking about in this article. You say you want a GUARANTEE to come with every lawyer????? All this article says is you want a guranteed path into the U.S. for sufficient payment. This AIN\'T the corrupt country of crap-hole Mexico here! You\'re really trying to instigate a civil war here so you can kill Americans, aren\'t you? Bite me. You got no credibity when you speak for the devil mexico.

nativesayno on Jan 15, 2009 at 10:02:19 said:

good riddance. I think sigh and read in peace are same poster and probably even dave from a few months ago that tries to run posters off of his supposed territory at NAM....

When I see an active poster's comments that I don't especially appreciate; even one whose POV I agree with...guess what? I scan over it. I do not post shrill invectives at them.

I am a minority-mixed race liberal democrat that ardently supported the Obama campaign. Since you have all the answers you don't require of yourself to read posts that are "on topic", but instead just shot off your gob about basements, friends, tacos, shooting in the face etc. Anger management may be in order for you if web posters ruffle your "postive" world so easily.

Next time observe the topic and join in on debate topic...not some stream of consciousness about your supposed knowledge of another posters "negative" character. Subjective rants to intimidate posters is quite immature and even highly unwelcome.

sigh on Jan 15, 2009 at 08:26:12 said:

I agree with read in peace. You and the other trolls are not looking for a discussion. I'm sure you don't care what I think about immigration and guess what - neither do I. Stop being so paranoid. I'm sure that there are no illegal immigrants sneaking around trying to rear end you again. Calm down and have a taco. They're really tasty - I promise you. At first, I thought, "Hey, it's just a hater commenting" but then when I realized you've commented on pretty much every immigration article on this site, I realized that what you really are is a loser. A pathetic, unemployed loser living in his mom's basement and that this is all you do - all day long. That and maybe Asian/Latino porn (Oooh - illegally naughty). Please do the world and the economy a favor and go back to the porn. If you hate immigrants so much - get a job and move out of your mom's basement in LA to someplace whiter. And if you truly want to make a change, why not run for something in the government. But then, you'd actually need to be semi-likable. Too bad Bush is on his way out so no job for you. I guess you shouldn't have wasted the last 8 years commenting so much. You might have gotten Cheney to back you on that Final Solution but even he would've found you annoying and would've shot you in the face.

Frankly, I just want to read the articles on this site and since minorities are only covered in the press when they do something wrong (and only against white people), this is the best place to find some news without it being completely negative. I wish NCM will just turn off the comments section altogether.

P.S. - This will be the last time I comment on this website. Why? Because I have better things to do with my time and my life and I have friends. Something you would know nothing about - nativessayno. Maybe you should hire a friend. They come cheap if they're illegal but YOU might need to pay more.

nativessayno on Jan 14, 2009 at 21:53:06 said:

read in peace: you reek of hatred yourself. I oppose illegal immigration. Freedom of speech is important on this topic. NAM publishes pro-illegal articles almost weekly.

Spew hatred? You need professional help with sorting out aspects of reality that do not conform to you autocratic point of view. If I happen to "disturb" your peace; it must be pretty fragile. Hater, bigot, nazi, pizza?

Maybe you should start your own site too, one that makes illogical, nasty swipes at fellow posters. Please... bringing in remarks about one's mother? Cheap shots all. Did you not have an actual insight to share on the article or its content? Or only trawl for a poster that you have some wacky beef with and ugly insults to share?

I appreciate an opposing point of view that contains valid objective argument or rhetoric. You, however have missed the point of blogging and posting entirely...

Again, I agree with Mukasey's ruling...this makes me subject to sigh's and read in peace's wrath. Funny, I can make a case without being insulting or offending another poster. That makes me a hater.

read in peace on Jan 14, 2009 at 09:45:19 said:

If she had broken all your fingers instead, I'd have given her an award for public service. And if you're not bitter and obsessed then I don't know who is. You comment on almost every single article on this site. Please get a life! I'm begging you on behalf of your mother. Stop ruining your blind dates with talk of immigration reform and try and get laid sometimes. It's all right to pay for it sometimes - even if they are immigrants. God knows you need the help of a pro.

And why do you even read this website? I don't go out of my way to read KKK Today. You're gonna pop a vein at this rate. So could you please put a sock in it and go somewhere else to spew your hate so I can read in peace? Here's an idea, Start your own website. I'm sure it will be popular. In fact, take all the other haters and bigots that comment here. You guys should get along famously. Maybe start your own party - Nazi, lynching, cross burning or even join the minutemen. You guys can sit around a six pack and spin your wheels and never say anything new or offer any rational or sane solutions to any problem including who's gonna pay for pizza.

nativessaysno on Jan 13, 2009 at 12:58:07 said:

sigh- name calling and snide remarks have no bearing on the illegal immigration issue. If I knew as much as you I could simply levitate myself our of LA's sanctuary city onslaught.

I am not bitter, I an indignant and anxious that open border rhetoric can actually sway people's view to consider fraud worker's to be victims.

An illegal immigrant broke my leg and totalled my car-she received no fine/restriction etc.....not bitter really, disgusted? You bet!

Employed?...what's it to you? Do you always use bully tactics to impose your views?

I happen to agree with the outgoing Attorney General, that makes me bitter? Go figure...

sigh on Jan 13, 2009 at 09:55:45 said:

nativessayno, do you have a job? You have so much time on your hands. Did an immigrant take your job? Is this why you're so bitter? I feel so sad for you. And happy for your previous employer. You must've been a real downer and annoying at the water cooler.

nativessayno on Jan 09, 2009 at 11:19:45 said:

We as a sovereign nation are not set us and not prepared for non-citizen's that have no true legal "rights" here to be presented in court countless times to basically stall their deportations. I heartily endorse Mukasey’s ruling.

This ruling may be a prelude to Mr. Holder's agenda to execute and uphold the actual immigration laws of the USA. I seriously HOPE SO.

So much talk about "immigrants needs for justice and fairness from us....what if what we want something that is quite contrary to what "they" want????

"Mukasey’s slap at due process follows another undemocratic maneuver"......Slap? undemocratic? Excuse me, but that sort of bombast is losing its resonance and grip on our guilt and critisism receptors!

In our hard economy we rally to our citizen's rights over and above non-citizen's; non-citizen's whose appeal to us could have been one that engendered brotherhood instead of demanding we accomodate everything they require.

That feels like a "slap" to me. Anyone out there want to represent an actual argument for the strength of illegal immigrants urgent interest in US citizenry? Funny, I see no evidence of that.

I really applaud Attorney General Michael Mukasey and am anxious to see this tide turn back to real justice and fairness provided to citizens and their rights in these immigration decision matters!




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