[Chronicle for Social Change] Alone in a California Courtroom: A Call for Legal Representation in Immigration Court

June 24, 2016

A June article in the Chronicle for Social Change detailed the problems of immigrants without access to representation in the immigration courts. It told the story of José Padilla, a Honduran immigrant who was arrested in a Los Angeles raid, sent to a detention center and shortly afterward deported to Tijuana, Mexico. He had ended up in a shelter called Casa del Migrante, where he described to reporter Zoraida San Roman the fear and intimidation he had felt in the courtroom as officials wordlessly pressured him to sign a document agreeing to his voluntary departure and forfeiting his chance to present a case in court. Without an attorney to represent him, he had not known what his options were. San Roman also documented a protest in which ImmDef attorneys blocked federal facilities to drive home the need to provide legal services for detained immigrants. San Roman quoted ImmDef's own Graciela Lopez:

“We must challenge the system and provide legal services,” Lopez told San Roman. “We must not leave anyone behind.”

 

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