Immigration Law

Detainee Legal Rights Threatened

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A federal judge has found that some Salvadoran detainees aren’t getting access to legal materials, phones and lawyers.

Because of those violations, Judge Margaret Morrow of Los Angeles refused to lift a 1988 injunction requiring the government to advise Salvadorans of their rights to apply for legal asylum and to seek a lawyer, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A report by the Government Accountability Office has found that such problems are widespread. It said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was violating nonbinding ABA detention guidelines at several detention sites, noted in an earlier post.

Morrow cited details. She said some detention centers lacked computers, legal materials, working phones and private rooms for lawyer visits.

She also referred to a study that found fewer than one in 10 immigrants entering the country at San Ysidro, Calif., were advised of their right to apply for asylum.

The government plans to appeal. “We are disappointed that the court continues to refuse to end a long-standing and unnecessary injunction,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said in a statement. “The civil war in El Salvador ended several years ago. Circumstances there that were the basis for the injunction no longer exist.”

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