The Californian county of San Diego officially launched a pilot program to provide defense attorneys to immigrants facing deportation proceedings, the first to provide this support on the southern border of the United States.
Last May, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the Immigrant Rights Legal Defense pilot program, which provides attorneys for people detained by immigration authorities in this area.
Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, who promoted the program, celebrated the launch of the program, which will invest five million dollars, at a press conference on Thursday.
The goal is for the funds to help provide free attorneys to detainees at the Otay Mesa detention center, located near the Mexican border, and to people in alternative detention such as those with electronic pagers.
“This is going to change people’s lives,” Lawson-Remer said.
There are currently more than 8,000 deportation cases pending in San Diego County, according to the independent Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
Lawson-Remer warned that “everyone in this nation, citizen or not, has a right under our Constitution to be represented by an attorney, and this program will help immigrants have a fair day in court.”
At least 12 immigrants are already enrolled in the program, which will provide help through the organizations Southern California Immigrant Project, Jewish Family Service of San Diego and the American Bar Association’s Immigrant Justice Project.
The program also earmarked funds for translation services.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.