Immigration Attorney Feels Frustration
You think your week was depressing? Try this on for size, "My Hands Are Tied, by Brian Lonegan in Sunday's New York Times Magazine:
I'm an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, the only free legal-service organization in New York City that provides assistance to people who are in ''removal proceedings,'' what used to be called deportation, because of a criminal conviction. There are crimes people should be deported for -- murder, robbery, rape -- but the way the law is written now, people are being deported for shoplifting or for jumping subway turnstiles or for possession of a joint of marijuana. New York's detainees are held in county jails in New Jersey. There are several hundred immigration detainees in these jails at any given moment. And there's only one Legal Aid attorney available. That's me.
Here's what it's like:
These guys all want to tell me their life stories, but I have to cut to the chase with potential clients and figure out what legal remedies they have. Most have none. Detainees call me collect from jails, and I give them advice. My hotline number is now in every jail cell between here and Pennsylvania.
Here's how it got that way:
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