Illegals in the US will be provided with free legal advice - ForumDaily
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Illegal immigrants in the US will be provided with free legal advice

The Biden administration is preparing to provide legal services to migrants entering the immigration system in seven border cities, according to a government request released Jan. 20 for lawyers from private firms, reports AXIOS.

Photo: Shutterstock

Increasing migrants' access to legal services has long been a goal of the administration. While the new Legal Access at the Border (LAB) program will help prepare migrants for the immigration litigation process, it will not provide them with legal representation directly.

The plan specifically includes migrants included in the re-implemented "Stay in Mexico" policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs).

On the subject: How to prove that you have American citizenship: supporting documents and how to get them

Many legal aid organizations, which usually provide pro bono legal services to migrants, have refused to help with the MPP because of serious humanitarian issues associated with the program. They criticized President Biden for restarting it even though it was ordered by the court.

Earlier this month, senior administration officials spoke of efforts to expand legal services for migrants registered with the MPP while speaking to reporters.

Private firm attorneys will run a new orientation program, but it will be overseen by the Department of Justice's Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).

This is part of a broader effort by the agency to increase information and representation, which it calls the initiative "Access EOIR", according to spokesperson Katherine Mattingly.

According to documents posted on SAM.gov, this program will be for migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, in Border Patrol custody, participating in the MPP program, or those who may be enrolled in the MPP or otherwise subject to deportation proceedings.

The program will be rolled out in San Diego and Calexico, California; Nogales, Arizona; and El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo and Brownsville, Texas—MPP was once used in all seven. The administration hopes to launch the program sometime within the next 60 days.

Lawyers will explain to migrants options for staying in the US while deportation decisions are pending, as well as general practice and immigration court procedures.

Lawyers will have plans that include individual and group sessions, free referrals, and remote legal services options.

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Efforts to improve the legal process for migrants arriving across the US-Mexico border come as backlogs in immigration courts have reached almost 1,6 million.

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