Trump administration accused of blocking detained immigrants from free legal services
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Trump administration accused of blocking detained immigrants from free legal services

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) on Wednesday filed a formal complaint against the Trump administration for restricting detained immigrants from seeking free legal services.

RAICES, along with the law firm Akin Gump and university immigration clinics, have provided pro bono legal services to individuals detained at the Karnes detention facility in Texas since 2014, and have collaborated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop successful policies for counsel at Karnes, which facilitated access to free legal services for thousands of children and adults.

However, ICE recently changed its policies in a way that significantly limits the ability of pro bono attorneys to work with detained persons at Karnes. In the complaint letter, RAICES suggests ICE some ways to ensure that access to counsel for detainees at Karnes is both efficient and effective.

“When a situation arises where private conference rooms are in use and the attorney wishes to meet in a regular or alternate visiting room, the request should be accommodated to the extent practicable. Such meetings should be afforded the greatest degree of privacy possible under the circumstances.”