PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! Were proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM COMMUNICATIONS, INC P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 gives them a paper [ordering the child] to show up they know they are paid by the INS.” The responsibility of the foster parent, said the judge, “is to take care of the welfare, not the legal rights, of these children…. Attorneys represent these people and try to enforce their legal rights.” Hinojosa’s lecture continued after Ayala said the agency had failed to notify Proyecto Libertad attorneys because Garcia’s second deportation procedure was initiated before Lopez’s attorney had served notice that she would represent him. Austin immigration attorney Barbara Hines, however, informed the judge that a “G-28, [notice of legal representation] had been mailed on August 10.” After Lopez was taken to court on Aug. 14, a Proyecto Libertad staff member contacted the deputy immigration clerk in Harlingen and confirmed that on Aug. 12 at 10:40 a.m. the G-28 form had been received at the INS office. Even if paperwork proceedings on Lopez’s case had begun before the notice from the child’s attorney reached the INS legal office, Hines argued, the agency took the child to immigration court on August 14. By that time they knew who Lopez’s lawyer was. That was not exactly correct, Ayala said. The notice from Garcia’s lawyer had been received, but when the new proceedings began, a new file was created. A clerk placed the notice in the old file. It was another explanation that Hinojosa would not accept. “Now you’re blaming the immigration clerks…” the judge said. “Ask my clerks. I tell them that when something is lost, it’s no problem for you. I take responsibility for my clerks.” What is this all about? Is it misfeasance or malfeasance? After only two hours in court, the rather obvious answer to that question is yes. Here is a federal agency, as Judge Ricardo Hinojosa observed in open court, that “cannot follow its own rules.” The litigation of immigration is a civil affair. Therefore, those accused of illegally entering the country are not subject to the same protections against double jeopardy that apply to defendants in criminal cases. But, as attorney Hines argued in court, there is a statute that guarantees litigants’ right to be represented by an attorney. When the INS fails to inform defense attorneys of their clients’ trial dates, that right is abrogated. “If you’re not complying with the constitution and the law, the courts have to ALAN POGUE if these particularly defenseless litigants, who have access to attorneys, are so badly treated by the INS legal staff, what can be inferred of the treatment of the majority of children who are routinely deported without legal advice? What does this particular sample of INS justice suggest about the way the agency treats those it does not consider defenseless? Attorneys and paralegals at Proyecto Libertad complain that the INS holds the children in custody and continues to re-open deportation proceedings against them, even after immigration judges declare that they can’t be deported. When an appointed advocate of judicial restraint \(placed on the federal bench in 1983 as a point of reference to admonish a trial attorney for a flaw in procedure in the discovery process “You’re as bad as they are,” Hinojosa told Austin attorney Barbara Hines one suspects that this particular INS office must be very bad, indeed. Now it seems that the judge has suspended the sword of Damocles over the head of the local INS office. “We don’t like to get involved,” Hinojosa said. “If you continue to violate your own regulations and what is a minimum standard of constitutional rights, the courts are going to have to step in.” The judge set a Nov. 6 deadline for the agency to resolve its differences with attorneys Hines, Lee Teran of San Antonio and Carter White of Brownsville. The office must also explain what is being done to see that employees follow proper procedure, comply with the Code of Federal Regulations, statutory law and the U.S. Constitution. And they must address the issue of re-opening, again and again, deportation proceedings, often when there is no new evidence against the child. If the INS fails to show proof that it can avoid “past egregious errors,” the judge said, “this court will have to enjoin you and make you follow your own rules.” More after Nov. 6. L. D. Border Patrol in Hidalgo County step in,” the judge said to the three government attorneys. He described the agency’s failure to notify attorneys as a serious violation of procedure. “The right to be represented by an attorney,” Hinojosa said “means nothing if you fail to notify the attorney.” The litigation of cases of unescorted child immigrant defendants is a difficult business that raises a number of difficult questions, such as: To whom are these children released if they are not declared deportable and to whom are they deported if immigration judges decide to deport them? Where are they to be detained while their cases are being tried? Something the judge said in this McAllen courtroom raises another serious question about the INS and minors. In the millions of deportation proceedings conducted, Hinojosa said, it is “funny … four of them [with serious procedural problems] in the same place and the same office.” Children are, as the judge said, “the most defenseless of all litigants.” \(This was an admonition to the immigration attorneys, whom the judge said were using the children to establish certain principles. “In the end they [the children] are 4 OCTOBER 2, 1992 r.
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