top of page

Why do Orpe Human Rights Advocates want to Engage in the Project of Indigents Defense before Immigration Court?

The reason why Orpe Human Rights Advocates wants to engage in the project of defending indigent immigrants in the immigration court is drawn on the premise of fulfilling its divine mission of defending the cause of those who cannot assert their own fundamental rights.

If you are required to attend a removal or deportation hearing before an Immigration Judge, keep in mind that it is important to knock the doors of an experienced and knowledgeable deportation defense advocate to accompany you into the courtroom. Because chance is high you will face an experienced attorney who will be representing the government and who probably has appeared in hundreds of deportation hearings.  If your attorney or the advocate who is representing you is not knowledgeable or experienced in deportation defense, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. Many indigents people with compelling cases had appeared at their removal hearings without an attorney because they could not afford the services of a private attorney and also there were no services of nonprofits like OHRA available ended up being deported. This is what constitutes the reason why Orpe Human Rights Advocates is engaged in the path of assisting genuine people with genuine cases facing deportation who otherwise would have been granted relief but could not because of their inability to afford the services of a private lawyer.

All immigrants including indigents immigrants have the constitutional right of effectively being represented by a competent advocate or lawyer.  In addition, case law shows that the government has been arguing that immigrants have a right to counsel in immigration court, but that expense has generally been borne by the noncitizen who in most cases are indigents who are unable to afford the services of a private attorney. Because deportation is classified as a civil rather than a criminal sanction, immigrants facing removal are not afforded the constitutional protections under the Sixth Amendment that are provided to criminal defendants. 

Sometimes, because of the lack of an effective representation, indigents tend to self-incriminate themselves by creating a record before the Immigration Judge. If they lose and then have a possibility to hire a new and better attorney to appeal the Judge’s decision, the judge will be saddled with the record of proceedings that indigents have created themselves before the Judge. The record of proceedings consists of the transcript of the hearing and the exhibits, including copies of any applications submitted on behalf of behalf the client. If you do not make a good record before the Judge, it may be difficult for your new deportation attorney to win your appeal. This is what used to happened to indigents.

Note that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is located in Falls Church, Virginia. The BIA never sees nor hears from you. They only see the printed record, the decision of the Immigration Judge, and the attorneys’ legal briefs. If the BIA rules against you and you finally have the opportunity to hire a great immigration attorney to take your case to Federal Court, the court must rely on the record of proceedings. You never get the chance to testify in court. 

Deportation Defense Advisory

  • Fajardo vs. INS (9th Cir. 2002)

  • Socop-Gonzalez v. INS – En Banc (9th Cir. 2001)

  • Jobe vs. INS – 238 F.3d 96 – En Banc (1st Cir. 2001)

  • Mejia-Hernandez vs. Holder (9th Cir. 2011)

  • Varela vs. INS – 204 F.3d 1237 (9th Cir. 2000)

  • Singh v. Gonzales (9th Cir. 2007)

  • Albillo-De Leon v. Gonzales (9th Cir. 2005)

  • Lopez vs. INS – 184 F.3d 1097 (9th Cir. 1999)

Deportation Defense Resources

Related Issues:

bottom of page