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LA Times: Tax-Funded Lawyers for Illegal Immigrants Is ‘Worthwhile’

In an editorial by the Los Angeles Times, the use of taxpayer money to pay for illegal immigrants’ legal fees to fight deportation is heralded as a “worthwhile” plan.

The LA Times Editorial Board writes that because some illegal immigrants do not have lawyers, it is the responsibility of U.S. taxpayers to pay for their attorneys:

Having a lawyer can make all the difference in the world to someone facing deportation in federal immigration court, where the law is dizzyingly byzantine. Yet only 37% of potential deportees have one. Part of the problem is a lack of attorneys trained in immigration law, and part of it is money — immigrants, unsurprisingly, often lack the resources to hire lawyers.

Of course, if they were facing criminal charges, they would be provided with lawyers as a constitutional right under U.S. Supreme Court rulings. But immigration codes are civil, and there is no constitutional right to an attorney during civil proceedings. If you can find one on your own, good for you, but the government does not supply one.

Forcing someone — often a person without even a rudimentary understanding of English — to navigate this complicated legal terrain with no idea of what the law says, or what remedies might be available, is Kafkaesque.

The LA Times editors tout programs in California where taxpayers have been funding illegal immigrants’ attorneys since 2014, with $3 million a year going to open borders organizations to pay legal fees.

The plan was pushed further by the LA Times, with editors saying a larger program to fund illegal immigrants’ legal fees would benefit more than 2,000 illegal immigrants:

The same debate has swirled around a city-county effort. Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is still pushing a proposal to contribute $3 million to a new Los Angeles Justice Fund even though the supervisors haven’t yet agreed on whether to exclude convicted felons. The Los Angeles City Council is proceeding with a plan to kick in $2 million a year for up to three years, so long as violent felons are excluded. The Justice Fund, to be administered by the California Community Foundation, would merge the city and county dollars with $5.7 million from several nonprofit foundations. Each deportation defense costs about $5,000, so the $10.7 million L.A. Justice Fund would serve about 2,140 people in a region where the immigration courts have a backlog of 44,600 cases. Of those, 68% of detained immigrants and 26% of those free during the deportation proceedings don’t have legal help.

The Justice Department, along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have made backlogs in the immigration courts a major priority to cleaning up how the federal government tackles illegal immigration.

As Breitbart Texas reported, nearly every illegal immigrant who faces an immigration court is eligible for deportation, a break from the Obama-era where DHS prosecutors asked for less harsh sentences for non-violent illegal immigrants.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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