When the Trump Administration began implementing its Muslim Ban, I received troubling reports of refugees, green-card holders, and U.S. citizens who were detained without access to volunteer lawyers.
This morning, I introduced my first piece of legislation, specifically designed to rectify this injustice.
My bill, the Access to Legal Counsel Act, would guarantee legal counsel for refugees and other travelers blocked at U.S. ports of entry.
With the Republicans in control of the Senate, we are going to need to create a coalition of people who will stand with us in support of this legislation, which is why I’m asking:
Since Trump’s Muslim ban was announced, there have been reports of elderly people with medical conditions, children, and students who were pressured by immigration officers to sign forms that forced these individuals to give up their legal, permanent resident status. With proper legal counsel, they could have better understood the ramifications of signing these documents.
These individuals should be able to communicate with their legal counsel who can advocate for their rights under the law, particularly when detention could endanger their health, safety, or human rights.
Here’s the bottom line: detention without access to representation goes against the fundamental values of our judicial system. The people affected by this unlawful ban deserve access to a lawyer during interactions with border officials that could fundamentally alter the course of their lives.
When the Muslim ban was implemented, I wrote to you and said we must demonstrate to our brothers, sisters, and friends in refugee and immigrant communities that they are not alone in this fight.
That is why I am working so hard to push this legislation in the Senate, and why we must continue advocating against this unconstitutional ban.
Thanks for everything you do.