Board of Supervisors steps up to defend due process for immigrants

December 20, 2016

ImmDef was present to support the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ historic 4-1 vote to dedicate local funds to help represent indigent immigrants facing deportation in federal immigration court. The vote is part of a joint effort by the City of Los Angeles, the County Board of Supervisors, and private funders to eventually create a $10 million legal defense fund to represent immigrants facing deportation.

 Supervisors voted to dedicate an initial $1 million, and a subsequent $2 million is expected to come later. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had already announced the city would dedicate $2 million to the effort, and a matching $5 million is expected from private sources.

“This is a question of Constitutional due process for members of our community," said Lindsay Tocsylowski, ImmDef ED. "Our local officials in the county and the city have to come down on the right side of justice and of history. Trump wants to tear apart our families and sow fear in our communities through mass deportations. Today, the Board of Supervisors voted to even the playing field in the immigration courts.”

The immigration justice system allows but does not guarantee immigrants attorney representation. However, as new laws have gradually criminalized immigrants in the last 30 years, their access to due process has diminished. Studies have shown that an immigrant’s chances of prevailing in immigration court are up to five times better if they have a competent attorney to present their case. ImmDef's mission is to ensure that every immigrant has access to legal representation, regardless of the circumstances of their case.

The Board of Supervisors has acted before to protect immigrants, most recently through strengthening rules against abuses by unscrupulous notarios and immigration consultants. With this historic vote, supervisors further consolidate that promise to stand with our community.

City attorney Mike Feuer said we need more teamwork to help our communities, and as the Trump administration gears up, ImmDef supports this effort to forge that teamwork. All immigrants should receive the due process our Constitution promises.




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