Representing Clients in Removal Proceedings (originally posted 11/30/2011)
After a tumultuous summer and fall representing clients in immigration courts, I can finally share my conclusions about what it takes to represent clients in removal proceedings in the current immigration climate.
First I will say that I was surprised at the tremendous response the recent Georgia immigration law had upon the local police officers. They were extremely busy arresting every person they could stop, even for minor traffic violations, if they suspected the person was an illegal immigrant. In the past couple of months, hundreds of people were arrested and, most of them ended up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) custody.
I have read numerous articles that were describing the conditions in jail where they were held (for a civil offense). Even more disturbing, there were articles talking about people that have died in these “immigration jails.”
I had to visit such a jail, in the process of helping my clients, and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. To visit my client I had to pass through concrete wall corridors without any windows, hear the heavy metal doors closing behind me, and avoid eye contact with the prisoners that were staring behind glass walls. My client lost a lot of weight in jail because they were served only one meal per day. He got sick from the air-conditioning because he only had underwear and the prisoner’s jumpsuit to keep warm.
All the immigration offenders are mingled with all the other criminal offenders.
My experience in representing the client in the court was positive because the judge was fair and the process itself unfolded the way it should under the law.
One thing I discovered for sure: if someone does not have the proper immigration documentation in the United States, they need to seriously recognize that one day, they are likely to find themselves in an immigration jail before being deported.
Any person in this situation should consider talking with an immigration attorney that can evaluate their legal rights and help them to obtain legal immigration status before it is too late. You can contact us at 678-615-8529 – we are here to help.