Unlike in criminal court proceedings, people facing deportation have no right to government-funded counsel. As a result, most defendants in immigration court — including 70 percent of people in detention — face steep odds. They’re also fighting for their lives as ICE continues to book thousands of immigrants into detention facilities with coronavirus outbreaks and deplorable health procedures. And release from detention is nearly impossible, even during this pandemic, without representation. The devastating impacts of attacks on immigrants will outlast any federal administration. To keep communities safe and families together, local leaders should follow the lead of their peers in cities such as Philadelphia and Long Beach, Calif., and increase funding for deportation defense programs that provide a lifeline to immigrants and protect due process. They must send a message that amid heightened fear and enforcement, everyone in our communities will be protected.
Annie Chen, New York
The writer is director of the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Initiative
at Vera Institute of Justice.
Regarding the Oct. 2 Politics & the Nation article “Trump cuts refugee cap to lowest ever, citing virus and asylum backlog”:
The Trump administration’s recent decision to limit the admission of refugees to the United States to only 15,000 in the next 12 months (from among the hundreds of thousands who have applied) is typical of the president’s heartless approach to immigration and of his selfish, one-dimensional view of public policy in general.
I’m a European refugee. In 1946, my mother, grandmother and I (then 4), the only members of my family to survive World War II in Poland, arrived in New York City to restart our lives. Left and lost behind us were my father, three grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all gone without epitaphs in the Holocaust. Refugees and immigration are deeply personal issues to me. Evidently, they’re not to our president, the son and grandson of immigrants. I’m also a veteran of Vietnam, a retired naval aviator and former aerospace industry executive. My wife of 55 years (an educator and daughter of a career Navy officer) and I have two children. Unlike our president, both served in uniform; one in the Air Force the other in the Army. One is now a member of Congress, the other a surgical nurse. Charity aside, and we should never put charity aside, the United States benefits from the presence, labor and ideas of immigrants, as we have since the very first arrivals, who launched the enterprise that improbably became the United States.
Such unconscionable restrictions on the admission of refugees as Mr. Trump proposes are not only inhuman but also unwise. November’s election gives us the voice to say no to this and to his other catastrophic policies.
Andrew C. A. Jampoler, Washington