Illegal immigrants are getting free lawyers, and you are paying for it

Illegal immigrants are getting free lawyers, and you are paying for it
A partial display of mugshots of illegal aliens who were arrested on allegations of child sex crimes in North Carolina between October 2018 and June 2019 (Image via The Epoch Times)

The Immigration Reform Law Institute describes how a large number of state and local governments are using tax dollars to given illegal aliens free legal assistance, generally in cases where they are facing deportation due to a criminal record. The result of illegal aliens having a lawyer is that deportation proceedings are more lengthy, complicated, and expensive than they otherwise would be. That results in in all Americans paying more in taxes to litigate immigration cases and enforce the immigration laws.

From coast to coast, numerous city and county governments are enacting taxpayer-funded programs that provide free legal representation to illegal aliens fighting deportation orders, an investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has revealed.

In one glaring example discovered by IRLI, city officials in Philadelphia admitted that they administered no oversight over its deportation defense program, despite funding it with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

A deportation defense program is any initiative that provides representation and/or other legal services to a non-citizen facing deportation proceedings, typically at reduced or no cost to the defendant. Under U.S. law, illegal aliens and other non-citizens facing deportation orders do not have a right to legal representation because immigration law is a civil matter, not a criminal one.

A progressive non-profit organization based in New York City, the Vera Institute of Justice, has served as the main catalyst for the proliferation of these deportation defense programs. The group claims that, out of the more than 50 publicly funded local and state deportation defense programs across the US, its SAFE Initiative (Safety & Fairness for Everyone) is formal partners with 22 of these communities.

“These programs are an insult to every law-abiding American citizen and legal resident,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Our laws clearly state that non-citizens charged with civil offenses do not have a right to legal representation. Yet we have radical anti-borders groups starting these programs and sticking unknowing citizens with the bill. It’s outrageous.”

Vera typically provides one-time grants to localities initiating these programs, which fund legal services, with the aim of making these programs permanent.  The first such program began in New York City in 2013, dubbed the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, with similar programs spreading since then. The growth of these deportation defense funds have not slowed down but proliferated. In the past year alone, new programs have been created while others have seen their temporary status made permanent and enjoyed increased funding. Vera says its goal is universal representation for individuals in immigration court – meaning any illegal alien in the country contesting a deportation order would be provided an attorney at no cost to them.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Immigrant Family Unity Project (PAIFUP) in 2019, a collaboration between Vera and the city as a way to combat the alleged “hate” emanating from the Trump administration. PAIFUP was launched in 2019 with $100,000 from city taxpayers and another $200,000 from Vera and the Samuel S. Fels Fund, bringing a grand total of $300,000. The program was put in jeopardy in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when nationwide lockdowns shuttered innumerable businesses, resulting in mass layoffs and leaving government budgets obliterated.

The Philadelphia government, faced with steep budget cuts, was poised to nix the program. However, the city’s leaders somehow not only found a way to maintain the program amid a financial crisis, but doubled taxpayer commitment to $200,000 for next fiscal year. According to the PAIFUP’s website, there are “no eligibility criteria other than income and a lack of private counsel,” adding that they do not “exclude individuals based on prior criminal convictions, residency, or any other reason.”

More examples of illegal aliens getting free legal help are at this link:

The SAFE initiative shows the location of such programs, which are funded by the states of California, New York, Oregon, Washington State, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and New Jersey, and cities such as Philadelphia, Dallas, Austin, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC, and counties such as Fairfax County (Virginia’s most populous county) and Harris County (Texas’s most populous county, which contains Houston).

LU Staff

LU Staff

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