Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Holder overturns order on immigrants and attorneys

The Justice Department today reversed a decision made under the Bush administration barring potential deportees from seeking legal counsel.

The decision by Attorney General Eric Holder resumes what had been a long standing practice of providing attorney privileges to immigrants for deportation proceedings. That order had been implemented then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey less than two weeks before President Barack Obama took office and was decried by Latino rights and pro-immigrant groups.

Holder told the Justice Department to begin working on a new rule and blasted Mukasey’s order:
"The integrity of immigration proceedings depends in part on the ability to assert claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, and the Department of Justice's rule-making in this area will be fair, it will be transparent, and it will be guided by our commitment to the rule of law," Holder said.

In January, Mukasey issued an order in Matter of Compean overturning Board of Immigration Appeals precedent and procedures governing assistance of counsel in removal proceedings. The order limited the ability of aliens to claim ineffective counsel in immigration proceedings, and did so without public input that a notice-and-comment rule-making procedure would have provided, Holder said.
The issue of legal representation of prospective deportees will be examined by the Supreme Court later this year in the case of Padilla v. Kentucky.

Image- Deutsche Welle
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, UPI, Wall Street Journal, AP

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