New York Times: "And last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, in an appalling last-minute ruling, declared that immigrants do not have the constitutional right to a lawyer in a deportation hearing and thus have no right to appeal on the grounds of bad legal representation. Mr. Mukasey overturned a decades-old practice designed to ensure robust constitutional protection for immigrants — one needed now more than ever in the days of the Bush administration’s assembly-line prosecutions."
Is this something that Obama will be able to rescind once he is in office?
New York Times
January 13, 2009
ImmigrationA scene from the last days of the Bush administration: On a snowy afternoon last weekend, a church in New York City is filled to bursting with more than 1,000 people. Parents holding babies, teenagers, old men and women with heavy coats and canes. They murmur and shout in prayer, a keyboard and guitar carrying their voices to the height of the vaulted ceiling.
The music has a deafening buoyancy, but as congregants step forward to speak, their testimony is heavy with foreboding and sorrow. They tell of families terrorized and split apart.
A young woman from Pakistan describes humiliating conditions at a detention center in Elizabeth, N.J., where she was sent with her mother and ailing father. A mother tells of her son, an Army sergeant and citizen, losing his wife to deportation. A Mexican man, with theatrical defiance, waves a shoe at the unnamed forces that have thwarted his desire to legalize.
It is hard to appear sinister in a church, and the congregation at Iglesia La Sinagoga, a center of Pentecostalism on 125th Street in East Harlem, seemed utterly ordinary. But as undocumented immigrants and their loved ones, they are the main targets of the Bush administration’s immigration war.
Families like theirs have endured a relentless campaign of intimidation and expulsion, organized at the top levels of the federal government and haphazardly delegated to state and local governments.
The campaign has been disproportionate and cruel. The evidence is everywhere...more