Newark, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has announced that he intends to allocate $2.1M to fund free legal representation for immigrants facing detention or deportation who cannot afford private attorneys. In New Jersey, the vast majority of immigrant detainees fight their deportation cases without an attorney. It is not surprising that only 14% of unrepresented detainees are successful and able to remain in the United States, given the complexities of our immigration laws and the challenges of gathering evidence while incarcerated. Individuals facing deportation have no right to appointed counsel.
It’s like a page out of Donald Trump’s agenda: US officials began harassing and detaining immigrants under the guise of protecting US citizens from foreign criminals. This week, ICE (Federal immigration service) agents have detained undocumented immigrants all over the country and arrests have been made in New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and other places. Personal reports have surfaced of agents entering homes and even churches to seize women and children away from their families. Constructions vans that may contain undocumented day laborers are being stopped on highways and ICE agents have been spotted patrolling in front of downtown restaurants.
There are so many forms of racism and social oppression being carried out in America, it just boggles the mind. This morning, I posted on Facebook a link to an article that details sad facts about a practice I first learned about from a Nightline TV news show report “Stolen Babies”, a court-sanctioned family destruction that has been going on for way too many years. I linked to a Colorlines story on families being shattered when immigration officials detain or deport parents who work hard and abide laws, except that they lack legal United States residency status – a holy grail that is impossible for so many immigrants to obtain. Colorlines tells us,