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As The President Attacks Immigrants, It’s Time For Congress To Provide A Legal Defense

Washington, July 16, 2019
A day after the Trump administration announced new plans to end asylum protections for people traveling from South and Central America through Mexico, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), a first generation American and former Army JAG Officer, introduced the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act to extend the guaranteed right to counsel to all people in the immigration court system.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A day after the Trump administration announced new plans to end asylum protections for people traveling from South and Central America through Mexico, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), a first generation American and former Army JAG Officer, introduced the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act to extend the guaranteed right to counsel to all people in the immigration court system. By striking the “no expense to the government” provision in The Immigration and Nationality Act, the bill would guarantee all indigent persons in the immigration court system the right to request government-appointed counsel to represent them in immigration court proceedings.

The Equal Justice for Immigrants Act also reforms the immigration court system by increasing opportunities for appeal and judicial review, prohibiting case production quotas required of immigration court judges, authorizing additional resources for these priorities, and reversing President Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, dubbed the “Remain in Mexico” program. The bill is currently endorsed by Immigration Hub and CASA.

“The President’s attacks on America’s immigrant communities are more effective when people in our broken immigration system do not have a guaranteed right to counsel,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “By providing legal representation, ending the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and increasing transparency in the adjudication and appeals processes, Congress can equip America’s immigrant communities with a legal defense strong enough to withstand the Trump administration’s most craven, inhumane policies.

Kerri Talbot, Director of Federal Advocacy at the Immigration Hub said, “The Immigration Hub welcomes the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act. Trump has stripped away due process from immigrants and it is critical that immigrants have a fair day in court.”

“CASA stands with Rep. Anthony Brown for proposing the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act to the US Congress,” said CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres. “ We are excited to fight for this important piece of legislation that would remove barriers and provide protections for immigrants seeking the American Dream.”

The full text of the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act can be found here, and you can read the Congressman’s section-by-section of the bill here.

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