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Bush Attacks Right to Representation


Jill Garvey • Jan 13, 2009

The Bush Administration must get some kind of perverse pleasure out of kicking people when they’re down. Nothing else could explain their most recent blow to the rights of America’s downtrodden. This time they’ve stripped away the right to legal counsel for immigrants facing deportation. According to the American Immigration Law Foundation “the Attorney General (Michael Mukasey) declared that henceforth, immigrants, asylum seekers, and all others in removal (deportation) proceedings do not have any right under statute or the Constitution to representation by a lawyer before they can be ordered deported.”

This means non-citizens can’t appeal a deportation because of incompetent legal representation. This policy of ensuring that immigrants, asylum-seekers, and even US citizens have a fair chance of adequate representation has been upheld in our courts for decades. Bush and his cronies have always been brazen, but overthrowing long-established policies to protect immigrants while publicly weeping over failed immigration reform is just too much.

It seems to me Bush wants to make as big a mess as possible in the White House before he gets kicked out. It’s too bad he can’t for once bow out gracefully. Even in his last two weeks in power he must find someone to terrorize. Big surprise his targets are vulnerable and generally poor. This is the Bush Presidency modus operandi; target the weak and do it on the down low. What a legacy.

The Obama team now has one more thing to fix. Here’s hoping they don’t overlook this one as it could have serious ramifications on families struggling to stay together and those trying to escape persecution and torture in their home countries. I’ve heard Bush’s last press conference called “gracious” by some reporters, and while he may sound remorseful over his many failures, I’m not fooled. He remains to the last, a man, and a leader of men, who work only for their own self-interests.

Way to go Bush. No really, what a way to go.

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