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Board Resolution ~ 10/26/2008(2)

On Immigration Raids

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers On Immigration Raids 

Tampa, Florida
October 26, 2008

WHEREAS mass raids of workplaces by federal officials seeking to uncover undocumented workers are occurring with increased frequency;

WHEREAS these raids often occur in small jurisdictions without the sufficient number of appropriate interpreters, nor counsel competent in defense of the charges brought;

WHEREAS the law is not uniform among the federal circuits regarding what constitutes aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence;

WHEREAS the Supreme Court has granted certiorari to resolve this issue;

IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers urges Congress to take immediate action to prohibit the following abuses of our criminal justice system arising from immigration enforcement actions:

  • Individuals arrested or detained during immigration enforcement actions or raids are not receiving effective representation of counsel by virtue of the denial of counsel with immigration experience or expertise, the denial of interpreters in their first language, the denial of their consul and advisement of their consular rights, and the use of exploding plea agreements and thus coerced waiver of important rights;
  • The prosecutors and judges have prepared binding plea agreements in advance of the raids (including the waiver of the right to contest deportation, the right to effective representation and adequate time to prepare and meet the charges);
  • These pre-prepared and non-individualized plea agreements and rights waivers create the appearance, if not the reality, that the court is not impartial and that the justice system lacks integrity;
  • Defense lawyers who represent those arrested in these proceedings are not adequately trained or equipped to provide effective representation to those accused;
  • United States citizens and legal resident aliens have been improperly detained in these raids;
  • Persons arrested in these raids have been improperly deported and have been separated from their dependent children;
  • The numbers of persons subject to mass immigration raids, combined with the limited number of lawyers available to represent multiple persons in these truncated proceedings (7 day proceedings from arrest to guilty pleas Postville) have resulted in inherent conflicts of interest in those representations;
  • Detention officials have prevented access to these detained and charged persons by immigration counsel;
  • Persons arrested in these raids are detained on contrived immigration holds that are not being genuinely sought;
  • Persons entering guilty pleas are not entering them knowingly and voluntarily;
  • Persons arrested in these raids often do not have the understanding that they are in criminal proceedings; and
  • Persons arrested in these raids are not advised regarding the collateral consequences of their guilty pleas.
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