ICE is denying migrants rightful access to lawyers, legal group says

Lawyers with the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, said policy changes at the Karnes County, Texas, center run counter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement standards and improperly deny migrants legal services.

News Story (Texas)

John Moritz
USA Today
May 9, 2019

Tags: Deportation

Organizations mentioned/involved: RAICES (Texas)


The letter claims Karnes staffers have delayed detainees from meeting with lawyers and are not letting lawyers meet detainees in their rooms. RAICES teams have also faced restrictions when seeking to enter rooms to meet with detainees, the letter said.

“This has resulted in a sharp decrease in our capacity to meet legal needs of persons detained at Karnes,” the letter says.

Before the changes, RAICES had served up to 160 clients each day. Now, it’s down to about 50, said Andrea Meza, director of RAICES Family Detention Services Program.

In the past, the lawyers were able to meet with clients several days before their court dates. No longer, Meza said.

“Sometimes we’re meeting them for the first time in the courtroom,” she said.