US

Judge orders U.S. to supply mentally deficient illegal immigrants with lawyers to fight deportation

Vince Coglianese Contributor

A federal judge’s ruling could pave the way for taxpayer-funded legal representation for immigrants facing deportation in cases of mental incapacity — a move praised by civil libertarians but opposed by advocates of stricter immigration enforcement.

U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee recently ordered the U.S. government to give two mentally incapacitated illegal immigrants legal representation to fight their deportations. The decision was triggered by the case of Jose Franco-Gonzalez, 30, who spent nearly five years in immigration custody after pleading guilty to assault with a deadly weapon because authorities determined he was too mentally incompetent to represent himself in his own deportation hearings. Traditionally public counsel is not supplied in U.S. deportation cases.

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