ICE: Denying Legal Aid to Asylum-seeking Families

Approximately 2,400 asylum-seeking women and their children are being denied access to vital legal aid by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while being held in a detention center in Dilly, Texas.  

On October 23, 2015, 19 U.S. senators led by Al Franken (D-MN), sent DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson correspondence urging him to re-examine ICE’s policies which have barred or limited these women and children access to legal representation.

According to the letter, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “on at least two occasions have banned attorneys from the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC).”  Additionally, many other lawyers have had their access to clients restricted without adequate justification.

The document further alleges that ICE and its contractor have barred pro bono counsel from being present during meetings at which detainees were provided with inaccurate information regarding immigration bonds and alternatives to detention. AILA Doc No. 15102730

At the bottom, the senators have requested that Jeh Johnson provide answers to twelve questions, which evaluate the misconduct of ICE and its affiliates, and what steps ICE has taken to come into compliance with the recent federal court order by Judge Dolly Gee in Flores v. Lynch.  For further information on the order by Judge Dolly Gee in Flores v. Lynch see my previous blog.

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Michael Harwin

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