HEADLINES: Immigration

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A new report published in the Cardozo Law Review, a publication of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, sifts through government data surveying immigration judges in an attempt to measure the quality and availability of legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants received “inadequate” legal assistance in 33 percent of the cases between mid-2010 and mid-2011 and “grossly inadequate” assistance in 14 percent of the cases, the report said. They gave private lawyers the lowest grades, while generally awarding higher marks to pro bono counsel and those from nonprofit organizations and law school clinics. The study was conducted by a group of lawyers and researchers under the auspices of Robert A. Katzmann, a federal appellate judge in New York City. [New York Times]

A growing number of U.S. citizens have been mistakenly detained as part of the Secure Communities program. Secure Communities, a federal effort to detect and deport illegal immigrants who have been arrested by local law enforcement. In Los Angeles recently, four native-born citizens — all Latino — have been held for days at a time. [NPR]

A federal judge said on Monday he would decide by the end of 2011 whether to block enforcement of South Carolina’s new law curbing immigration, as judges have done with several other state laws. Judge Richard Gergel heard arguments from attorneys for a coalition of civil rights groups and the U.S. Department of Justice seeking to halt the law going into effect, saying it usurps the federal government’s constitutional power to regulate immigration. Sixteen Latin American countries filed court briefs supporting the U.S. government in the case. South Carolina is one of a handful of states which have enacted tough new laws curbing immigration in the last two years, citing inaction by the federal government that has left a void in immigration policy. But federal judges have consistently blocked the attempts, halting key parts of other immigration laws passed in Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Utah and Indiana. [Reuters]

 

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