The Unjust Department of “Justice”

 

AG Sessions has some explaining to do. This will either take a long time or a very short time.Four weeks ago, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)  —a respected nonprofit in Seattle that represents immigrants in deportation proceedings—received a “cease and desist” letter from the Department of Justice, aka Attorney General Jeff Sessions, threatening disciplinary action. The letter  demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum-advisory program. What prompted this action on the part of the DOJ?  In all likelihood, it was because NWIRP has been at the forefront of resisting Trump’s travel ban. Its staff and volunteer lawyers were at SeaTac airport immediately after the White House launched the first Muslim ban, and in March it sued to block the second Muslim ban.

Last week, NWIRP filed a lawsuit to defend itself against the DOJ’s order—and on Wednesday, a judge granted a restraining order.   So for now, the organization can keep helping immigrants who need legal advice. But what’s at stake extends far beyond NWIRP and the 5,000 people it serves every year. The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year.

airportRemember that part of the Miranda warning that says, “if you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you”?  It doesn’t apply to immigrants who face potential deportation, because it only applies in criminal, not civil proceedings, and being in the United States without authorization is a civil offense.  This is where organizations like NWIRP are crucial to provide legal representation to immigrants who face mounds of legal paperwork and language barriers, and few have the means to pay for legal representation.

There are non-profits like NWIRP in many major cities around the U.S.  They coordinate the volunteer work of lawyers at big law firms, who represent children and refugees in immigration and asylum proceedings for free. The DOJ’s suspiciously timed cease and desist letter sends a chilling message to exactly these groups, and to volunteer attorneys. This attack by the government on a legal services-provider for immigrants could dissuade law firms from letting their lawyers volunteer for these cases, scaring those firms away by convincing them that immigration-related projects are too risky pro-bono projects.

attorneyIf they succeed, they don’t just deprive people of scarce resources for volunteer counsel, they gradually muzzle the bar. They marginalize the heroic work of nonprofits like NWIRP and its peers around the country. They defang the big law firms that have been willing to stand up to this administration—like Davis Wright Tremaine, which is assisting NWIRP—and they make immigrant representation a more marginal part of the law.

When lawyers rushed to airports in January and again in March to protect our friends, our neighbors, and our Constitution, people cheered. The Trump administration took offense, and now those lawyers are in their cross hairs. The president is taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of our government: the FBI, the Justice Department, the federal courts.

11 thoughts on “The Unjust Department of “Justice”

  1. Woa now. Let me get this straight, just in case I’m still fuzzy from too much re-write and living in my book’s world…..
    So, there is this organisation which is assisting people in the due process of the US law being told by the Administration to stop assisting people in the due process of the US law? Have I got that right?
    Hmm…sounds ‘State of Emergency’ stuff to me, indicating either panic or when dealing with the wealth of US laws, federal, state and constitutional just plain stupidity.
    Perhaps I should stick with my book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, dear Roger, you are spot on. Not just one such organization, but many who are trying to assist people in the due process of law, who are being told to stop doing just that. Now, there is the man who goes to the Middle East and meets with Muslim leaders, tells them what they want to hear, but back at the ranch, he directs his twin, the AG, to make sure Muslims cannot be represented under due process of law. See any problems with this whole thing? I think sticking with your book might be infinitely less stressful … but … you and I both know this is, in its own peculiar, sadistic way, fun. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    I am praying that Jeff Sessions will be seeing the exit door sooner than DDT. Thank goodness for the separation of powers in the USA and for our justice system which has been a check on this administration’s pushing the envelop on stepping on our rights. I keep thinking about that Turkey incident outside the Turkish embassy on 5/10 and when DDT encouraged his supporters to oust protesters from his rallies and he’d pay for any of their ensuing legal fees. This is where DDT and Jeff Sessions would like to take this country, to make it great again.

    I don’t want any part of their vision.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree. It seems at the moment that the only branch of government who has exhibited good sense is the judicial branch. Let us hope that DDT is gone before there is another opening on the Supreme Court, or that could all change too. And yes, Jeff Sessions has entirely too much power for a man as bigoted as he is, and besides that, he seems to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for DDT. Sigh. So many evil people in this administration.

      Hugs!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The average patriotic American citizen has not yet realised that their freedoms are threatened by what is likely to become one of the notorious, cruel dictators of recent history. I can only worry for you and what will become of your rights to justice. When someone like DT comes along and changes laws, trades secrets and colludes with other narcissistic world leaders

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed so … and while I try to minimize using a comparison of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, I DO see parallels. Dissatisfaction of the masses, and their willingness to blindly follow, to not see the handwriting on the wall until it is too late. The hope is that the structure and foundation of our government will prevent Trump from rising to that level of power, but I will feel better once he is gone. Hopefully soon!

      Liked by 1 person

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