SPLC: Detention center must provide detained immigrants with law library access – Southern Poverty Law Center

The letter outlines practices at the Folkston ICE Processing Center that violate the due process rights of detainees, particularly detainees representing themselves because they cannot afford an attorney. It also describes how the practices violate the Performance Based National Detention Standards that provide guidelines for the operation of such facilities. The Folkston facility is operated by GEO Group, Inc.

The expense of hiring an attorney, combined with language barriers and the remote, rural location of most detention facilities, prevent many detained immigrants from hiring their own lawyers, said Lisa Graybill, SPLC deputy legal director. As a result, they routinely represent themselves in court. They desperately need access to the law library to put together their cases. Failure to provide this access blatantly disregards their rights to fair legal representation and due process.

The letter demands remedies to violations that include the following:

Unrepresented detained asylum seekers having been reaching out to our law clinic over the past few months complaining about lack of access to the law library, said Curran, a clinical professor at the Florida Coastal School of Law. Many of those we have encountered difficulty preparing their asylum cases and or applications to seek parole.

The lack of library access also has implications for the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI), a SPLC project that provides pro bono representation to detained immigrants and plans to offer its services at the Folkston facility later this year.

To ensure that volunteer attorneys can provide the best representation for Folkston detainees, it is critical that our clients have full access to the law librarys resources as they work with attorneys on their case, said Dan Werner, SIFI director. The detention center should not be creating obstacles that prevent these detainees from effectively presenting their case in court.

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SPLC: Detention center must provide detained immigrants with law library access – Southern Poverty Law Center

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: SPLC |

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