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California immigration: Representation for detainees is a right

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2012 | Criminal Defense

California immigrants accused of a crime may be fearful of being detained for an indefinite period of time or even deportation. A recent investigation conducted by a leading newspaper found some interesting statistics when it came to immigrants and crime. Thousands of undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes in this country have been released by federal authorities. However, while that certainly is a serious problem, numerous other immigrants who are detained never committed a serious crime, or none at all, and instead are kept in holding for weeks or even months. Representation for detainees can help immigrants who become caught up in the system and can offer them the legal defense they need.

The investigation leads some people to think the federal immigration system is shrouded in secrecy because family members are not informed when loved ones are arrested, and there is no information about their scheduled release. Others are concerned about the lack of information because it doesn’t only apply to criminals. One woman was not involved in a crime, but she realized her visa was about to expire. She left this country but was detained as she tried to cross into Canada because she was undocumented. American officials held the woman for 12 days but failed to provide her with necessary heart medication, and she later passed away.

The woman’s husband tried to tell people his wife needed the medication, but the information failed to get to her. He blames the lack of information received about his wife and what was happening. Advocates of the investigation believe the investigative report makes all immigrants look guilty of a crime. However, the lack of representation for detainees denotes a problem within the system. While no one wants violent criminals on the streets, no matter their citizenship, it is not fair for other immigrants to be detained for lengthy periods of time while no one knows their whereabouts.

California immigrants who become detained or know someone who is detained will likely need assistance. Representation for detainees is a right, but it can be difficult if there is no information getting out to their loved ones. Any one accused of a crime has the right to receive help with their case, even if they are detained by federal authorities.

Source: PRI Public Radio International, “When an undocumented immigrant commits a serious crime, secrecy descends,” Dec. 12, 2012