I’m finally making time to start a project long in waiting—Scholars Sidebar, a (hopefully) regular focus on scholarly writings of special relevance to crimmigrationistas. And, in admittedly sin verguenza style, I’m starting with my latest article—a hot-off-the-press piece from the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal titled Due Process and Immigrant Detainee Prison Transfers: Moving LPRs to Isolated Prisons Violates Their Right to Counsel, 20 Berkeley La Raza L.J. 17 (2011).
I argue that moving LPRs in immigration detention to prisons located in isolated locations (as most are) violates their Fifth Amendment due process right to counsel. My argument is based in large part on the difficulty immigration prisoners face accessing counsel because of the scarcity of attorneys in areas near some of the largest immigration prisons. This scarcity, in turn, I argue hinders their ability to mount a meaningful defense.
In effect this article is a plea for reinforcements. So long as the federal government continues to imprison immigrants in out-of-the-way locations there will be a need for attorneys there. The dedicated, passionate, and skilled lawyers who currently serve imprisoned immigrants are simply incapable of representing even a fraction of people who might benefit immensely from informed counsel. If all this paper does is encourage one more lawyer to take up a detainee removal practice, then I’m happy.