Lawyers in the Big Apple think illegal aliens should be entitled to attorneys to help them fight deportation. And they think American taxpayers should pay for it.
On May 30, the New York City Bar Association endorsed a study supporting taxpayer-funded defense attorneys who would appear in court to derail deportation proceedings against those who entered the United States illegally. The president of the city’s bar association said in a statement that such a system would be “fairer and consistent with U.S. justice.”
The study estimates such a taxpayer-funded system would result in 17,550 illegal aliens escaping legal consequences and therefore being able to stay in the United States. The report uses some facts with which many social conservatives could sympathize, highlighting how many families could be kept together by evading deportation. The report also invoked language attempting to appeal to fiscal conservatives, noting potentially $200 million in federal spending that could be saved each year if the government did not need to pay for the detention and transportation of aliens whom the federal government is deporting.
This bar association does not speak for the legal profession. Bar associations are different from actual bars. The bar is part of a state supreme court or a federal court, and members of that bar are officers of that court and thereby licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction.
Bar associations, by contrast, are private organizations to which only a fraction of licensed attorneys actually belong, and most lean heavily to the political left. The role of such associations can confuse most non-lawyers, many of whom assume that bar associations enjoy some sort of official status. That is why many conservative lawyers object to the U.S. Senate giving credence to the evaluations of the leftwing American Bar Association (ABA) for presidential nominations for federal judgeships.
Nor is this confusion limited to the legal profession. The American Medical Association (AMA) is likewise a private organization to which most doctors do not belong, in part because the AMA tends to take staunchly liberal positions such as endorsing Obamacare.
So this NYC Bar Association statement carries no force of law. But to the extent it reflects a large political and legal constituency, it could represent an effort that would make it significantly more difficult to reform federal immigration policy in a way that upholds and advances the rule of law.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.