Indian immigrants lodged at US detention centre to get immediate access to legal aid

Washington: A US judge has ordered that 120 immigrants, including 52 Indians, be given immediate access to legal aid by allowing attorneys to meet them at the federal prison in Oregon, according to a media report.

Nearly 100 Indians, mostly from Punjab, are detained for illegally entering the country through its southern border. According to officials, around 40-45 Indians are at a federal detention centre in the Southern American State of New Mexico while 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs and Christians, are held in Oregon.

Migrants detained in the US. AP

Migrants detained in the US. AP

The Oregon federal judge has granted the detained immigrants being held in a Sheridan prison immediate access to legal aid, The Portland Mercury reported. US District Judge Michael Simon yesterday granted an emergency order sought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Innovation Law Lab, a nonprofit whose attorneys have been denied access to immigrants being held at the prison in Sheridan.

"We are a nation under law," said Simon. "The rule of law is one of our most cherished principles. And because we are a nation that lives under the law, the right to legal counsel is a right that has been recognised as required," the judge said.

Simon approved an emergency temporary restraining order filed on Friday against the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for violating the detainees' constitutional rights to due process, the report said. The ACLU of Oregon filed a lawsuit on Friday arguing the federal government is violating the constitutional rights of immigration detainees at the federal prison.

According to immigration attorney Akansha Kalra, the largest number of Indians who enter the US illegally are from Punjab and Gujarat. US President Donald Trump last week reversed his controversial decision on immigration by signing an executive order to end the separation of immigrant families on the US-Mexico border, following widespread protests against the move of his administration to separate children from their parents who illegally enter the country.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 16:17 PM

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