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A Parting Blow to Immigrants' Rights

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January 9, 2009

On Wednesday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey issued a decision that strips immigrants of the constitutional right to reopen cases they’ve lost because of their lawyer’s mistakes. As a result, many immigrants are at risk of being deported due to attorney error. Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in our release:

This order will have a tremendous negative impact on countless people who will be deported simply because they had the bad luck to be represented by the wrong immigration attorney. This is a dangerous move away from the U.S. tradition of fairness and due process. Losing your case because your lawyer missed a deadline or made some other egregious error can never be considered a fair process.

We’re hopeful that President-elect Obama will acknowledge the unfairness of this rule and reverse it. Immigrants are a vulnerable group that should be protected, not singled-out in the final salvo by an administration that’s never respected due process.

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