Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Watch have recently reported on situations where deportations and U.S. policies against immigrants have violated human rights. According to the ACLU, federal immigration policies, immigration officers, and even police officers have sometimes used immigration law to engage in racial profiling, killing of people at the border, and denial of due process to immigrants facing deportation.
According to the United Nations, human rights include the right to life, liberty, and freedom from slavery and torture. Human rights include freedom of expression, the right to education, the right to family. Unfortunately, if you look closely at U.S. deportation and immigration policies, the U.S. is, in many cases, violating basic principles of human rights. People are being detained often in conditions that border on torture. We have heard of families getting separated at the border, at children being put in cages, at people not getting the right to due process or a day in court before they are removed from the country. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the “right to work in favorable conditions,” the right to physical and mental well-being, and the right to an education. Immigrants should have the same right to a fair trial, and should be presumed innocent before being found guilty. Immigrants should have the right to peacefully assemble (a right which has been put under siege given recent militarization of peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, where immigrants have faced criminal charges and citations). Immigrants shouldn’t be tortured or unlawfully detained. They shouldn’t be forced into prisons without due cause where they’ll face exposure to the coronavirus and sometimes substandard levels of nutrition and medical care.
The Human Rights Watch notes that the Trump administration’s recent policies makes every immigrant a target, violating individuals’ rights to “family unity,” “the right to seek asylum,” “due process,” and the “rights of children.” To make matters worse, sometimes any interaction with the police can lead to the involvement of ICE and immigration, which can threaten even a legal resident’s right to remain in the U.S. There have been stories of fathers being wrenched away from their children, of men who served the U.S. in the military being deported, and cases where people who left their home country when they were infants are being deported to a country they don’t know, losing contact with everyone they know.
What is a person to do amid this chaos if facing deportation? First, it is important to understand your rights. You do not have to open the door to ICE or the immigration officers unless they have a warrant to arrest you. You do not have to answer questions ICE or immigration officers ask, except to identify yourself. You have the right to remain silent and have the right to ask to speak to a deportation lawyer. Unfortunately, unlike criminal cases, individuals facing deportation do not have the right to counsel. This means that if you need a deportation lawyer, one won’t be provided for you. According to the American Immigration Council, only 37 percent of immigrants facing deportation had a lawyer. Immigrants in detention were the least likely to have a lawyer. According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants who receive legal representation through a lawyer fare better than immigrants who are not represented. The American Immigration Council also notes:
- Immigrants in custody were more likely to be released from detention during their custody hearing when they had an immigration lawyer representing them.
- Immigrants with a lawyer were more likely to seek relief from deportation.
- Immigrants who applied for relief from deportation were more likely to receive the relief when they sought it when they had a deportation lawyer on their side. 49% of immigrants who applied for relief from deportation received relief, while only 23% received relief when they did not have an immigration lawyer.
These numbers are sobering given the flagrant violation of human rights and civil rights that is currently taking place in America’s deportation courts and detention centers. These numbers are also alarming given the reality that immigrants are not guaranteed the appointment of a lawyer to represent them should they face deportation. If you are facing deportation, it is important to protect your rights. Given the statistics, one of the best ways you may be able to protect your rights and potentially stop your deportation may be through seeking the representation of a deportation attorney in San Antonio, Texas. J. Joseph Cohen is a deportation lawyer that works with individuals who are facing deportation. Our deportation lawyer can review your case, help you understand your rights, and take steps to protect them. Contact J. Joseph Cohen today to learn more or connect with our San Antonio, Texas deportation law firm by reaching out to USAttorneys.com today.