Immigration and citizenship have been politicized topics of late, in the wake of some controversial orders emanating from Washington D.C. There is still a lot that is unknown about what will be in the coming months and years, but for those living in states hosting millions of undocumented people living in America right now there is an observable angst among the community.
For those whose status is questionable, the slightest infraction (i.e. speeding ticket) could result in deportation. Naturally, attorneys are the last line of defense against being forcibly removed from the United States; it is vital for attorneys working in states with huge swaths of illegal immigrants have both the skills and the necessary resources to provide the best defense possible. Unfortunately, the call for deporting undocumented people across the country comes at a time when there is a serious lack of attorneys trained in immigration law, especially among public defenders.
It is a real problem in the state of California, prompting Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) to call for support of legislation that would increase resources for criminal defense attorneys throughout the state, The Los Angeles Times reports. Speaking before an Assembly Public Safety Committee, Bonta said that California Assembly Bill 3 aims to build regional and statewide resource centers equipped to train lawyers in immigration and advise public defenders. The bill passed in the committee with a 4-0 vote.
People living in the U.S. under the radar who get arrested for some action might think that they will have to serve some jail time, but the way things seem to be going recently the real worry for such people is deportation. Advocates of AB 3 refer to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010, determining that the 6th Amendment requires attorneys to inform undocumented immigrant defendants about the possible immigration consequences that come with their case, according to the article. However, such an order is rendered ineffective given the fact that few attorneys are equipped to argue cases which involve immigration.
“So many counties did not have the resources,” said Raha Jorjani, director of Immigration Representation Project. “So many counties were thrilled to have one immigration lawyer to answer one or two questions, and they would repeatedly, constantly tell me, ‘I am not sure what I am going to do next week.'”
The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower will continue to follow the status of AB3.