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Immigration

Undocumented migrants will receive at least $5.6 million in taxpayer money for legal defense this year

According to US law, undocumented aliens do not have the right to legal representation

Legal Defense
Legal Defense | Victor Moussa

January 13, 2022 12:01am

Updated: January 13, 2022 2:40pm

U.S. taxpayers will provide at least $5.6 million for the legal defense of undocumented migrants in the 2022 fiscal year, reported the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) on Tuesday.

Taxpayers dollars have been funding the deportation defense program, an 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, however, undocumented aliens' deportation do not have a right to legal representation, since immigration law is a civil matter, not a criminal one.

“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.”

Deportation defense programs have used public funding in 50 jurisdictions, claimed IRLI. Twenty-two of these state and local governments partnered with the left-leaning group Vera Institute of Justice.

Vera Institute of Justice told Fox News that providing legal representation to immigrants is "widely supported and in line with our most fundamental shared American values."

"No one should appear in immigration court without a lawyer, especially when the consequences include possible deportation and separation from one’s family and community. It’s the government’s responsibility to protect the fundamental rights, health, and security of everyone in our communities, including immigrants who are targeted by our expanding federal enforcement system."