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Changes in US immigration law end advice for detainees

Laws for individuals attempting to relocate to this country have been rapidly shifting lately, and a new wave of laws brings new changes. One recent change to US immigration law is that a program offering free legal advice to immigrants in detention centers in the United States will be ended. Other laws seek to end the way asylum seekers are handled at the border and adopt a zero-tolerance policy on border crossings. New York immigrants facing detention and deportation will have less resources available to them and may need to reach out for outside independent help. 

A program run by the Vera Institute for Justice will be ended while it undergoes efficiency reviews, which the government has reported have not taken place in six years. The program helps to explain an immigrant's legal rights while he or she is being detained and offer support to those individuals who do not already have a lawyer. One Department of Justice study actually found the program to be a significant money saver for the federal government, but it seems as if it will be halted anyway. 

The so-called catch and release program that allows asylum seekers to avoid detention while their cases are being heard in the courts will also be ended. The current administration hopes to more strongly enforce existing immigration laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also announced a zero-tolerance border crossing policy that urges federal prosecutors to prosecute all immigration cases referred by the Department of Homeland Security. 

US immigration law changes may result in some confusion for those who are trying to enter the United States. Now, a program that informs individuals of their rights has been ended. A person attempting to enter New York as an immigrant may wish to retain the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the immigration process. 

Source:, "Legal Advice Ending for Immigrants in Detention in US", April 11, 2018

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