Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A System Designed to Make People Disappear

“I’m going to suggest something I have never suggested to any working person: If you are part of this machine—if you are a guard, an agent, a janitor, or anything in between—quit. Walk off your job. Right now. You’ve got bills to pay? A family to support? I get it. So do the people who come here looking for a better existence. The system you are contributing to is preposterously evil.”

By Dan Canon, Slate
April 2, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, for the first time ever, I represented an undocumented worker in deportation proceedings. Or rather, I tried to. My attempts to navigate this system were not what I would call successful. Part of this may be due to the fact that, though I have been a practicing attorney for 10 years, this was my first go at immigration law. But another part of it—most of it, I’d venture—is due to the fact that the U.S. immigration system is designed to be opaque, confusing, and inequitable.

Under most circumstances, I would not wade into this kind of thing at all. I’m primarily a civil rights lawyer, and immigration is a highly specialized area of law with a unique set of risks awaiting unwary practitioners. I would not, for example, take someone’s bankruptcy case or file adoption papers. I would refer those to lawyers with experience in those areas. But the crisis of unrepresented detainees is too big and too pressing to leave to the few organizations and individual practitioners with expertise in immigration law.[...]

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