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house Bill H.R. 1573

Should People in Customs & Border Patrol Custody Have Legal Counsel?

Argument in favor

Everyone, regardless of legal status or ability to pay, should have access to legal counsel if they’re detained by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Ensuring access to both legal counsel and interested parties is one means of helping ensure that people in CBP custody have the best chance to defend their own interests and make their cases to the U.S. government.

jimK's Opinion
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04/21/2021
Access to our legal processes pertains to all people in this country, particularly those being forcibly detained by our country. Most industrialized democracies honor the rights of people to have legal representation so that legal processes can be expedited by courts with legal representatives who know the rules and can provide representation in a way that helps assure that justice is done and someone is not mistreated because they did not know or understand some of the arcane procedures required by our court systems. If we are going to detain than we must provide legal representation just like most of the democracies spawned from our prior examples. The fact that the trump dismantled much of the systems required and dispersed many of the people doing this work means that it has to be rebuilt. Perhaps we should enact an immigrant support tax on every voter who voted for the trump. You know all of the people demanding that everyone should be fully accountable for their own mistakes, kind of a put up or shut up moment. Now that seems to be a fair and equitable solution to prevent the many from shouldering the expenses caused by the irresponsible behavior of the few.
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Dorothy's Opinion
···
04/21/2021
Of course they should have legal counsel, they are not slaves or property. Hopefully those days are over. We saw what happens when there is no counsel these last four years. You are thrown into concentration camps, denied basic human decency, hygiene, food, abused sexually and physically, families separated... and that’s by GQP; not to mention what ICE and border patrol thugs did. Talk about crimes against humanity. Welcome to the home of the twisted and perverts... USA. Should they have counsel??? Fuck YES
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Brian's Opinion
···
04/21/2021
Yes, anyone facing trial in the United States should be granted legal counsel, no matter their status or situation. It's only just. Anything less would be a violation of human rights.
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Argument opposed

There’s nothing keeping people in CBP custody from retaining legal counsel, or preventing people with family members in CBP custody from retaining legal representation for their loved ones. This bill is unnecessary at best, and at worst adds a bureaucratic burden to the Dept. of Homeland Security’s operations at a time when it’s already struggling to address large numbers of migrants at the southern border and operational challenges during a pandemic.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
04/21/2021
I would not support this bill as written. Issue of payment of legal services aside, in short, I would support this for those who follow the US process, but would NOT support for those who are illegally entering. Once again, the operative word is "ILLEGAL". Why would we want to build on a illegal foundation? Why do we have laws if we are not going to abide by them?
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Freethinker's Opinion
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04/21/2021
Might as well roll out the red carpet. Is it an open border or not? At least tell us otherwise this is just more bureaucratic malarkey to help illegal aliens become citizens.
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Robert's Opinion
···
04/21/2021
In one word, NO! They crossed the border illegally, they were not asked to come here, why should we fit the bill for their legal costs? I understand the plight in their countries, we did not cause this problem. What happens to all of the foreign aid given to these countries? Corrupt government members steal the money to improve their living, leaving the rest to find what they can. Kind of sounds like the democrats in this country. As the sectary of state recently said “ in order for this country to become carbon emission zero some jobs will have to be sacrificed”. When did we build a bubble that covers the US? China continues to pollute and builds coal fired power plants with the blessing of the Biden administration. The workers and economy of the US are being sacrificed so the demoncrats can look good to the rest of the world. They need to be putting American first not last. Makes me think they don’t care about their own country or it’s citizens!
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What is House Bill H.R. 1573?

This bill, known as the Access to Counsel Act of 2021,  would require that access to legal counsel or another “interested party” be provided to specified persons during inspection upon their entry to the U.S. at ports of entry or deferred inspection sites. 

Covered individuals would include U.S. nationals; lawful permanent residents; non-citizens seeking admission as an immigrant with a valid unexpired immigrant visa; non-citizens seeking admission as a non-immigrant with a valid non-immigrant visa; a refugee; a returning asylee; or a non-citizen approved for parole with a valid advance parole document.

The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) would have to provide covered individuals with a meaningful opportunity to consult with counsel and an interested party within one hour after the beginning of the secondary inspection process and as necessary throughout the inspection process (including during deferred inspection); allow counsel and an interested party to advocate on behalf of the covered individual such as by providing the immigration officer with information, documentation, and other evidence in support of the individual; and accommodate a request by the covered individual for counsel or an interested party to appear in-person at the secondary or deferred inspection site.

Covered individuals could also consult with an “interested party” including a relative, their visa sponsor, or any person, organization, or entity with a bona fide connection to the individual.

Any effort by CBP to persuade someone to relinquish their legal status by executing an I-407 or Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status would be invalidated if the person had been denied access to counsel.

Impact

Detainees in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody; legal representation for CBP detainees; “interested parties” of those in CBP custody; and the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1573

$825.00 Million
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill would cost $825 million over the five-year period from 2021-2026.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) reintroduced this legislation — which was the first bill she ever introduced after taking office in 2017 — from the 115th and 116th Congresses to ensure defendants’ access to counsel when detained by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at borders and ports-of-entry. Last Congress, Rep. Jayapal offered the following statement on this bill’s introduction:

“January 27, 2020 will mark the third anniversary of President Trump’s xenophobic and unconstitutional Muslim Ban. The recent accounts of Customs and Border Protection officers unjustly detaining Iranian Americans at the border crossing in Blaine, Washington, are a stark reminder that this Administration’s attacks on civil liberties are far from over. It is more critical than ever that we affirm the civil rights of individuals in detention and ensure that all who cross our borders are treated with dignity and respect. Our nation’s reliance on detention and deportation, both in ICE and CBP custody, is a shame. Denying access to an attorney on top of that is a gross violation of basic civil rights and civil liberties. The Access to Counsel Act makes sure we uphold principles of due process and fair treatment.”

After this bill passed the House in July 2020, Rep. Jayapal said:

“Since the day this president took office, his xenophobic administration has carelessly stripped basic civil rights and civil liberties away from individuals solely because of the color of their skin, their religion, the language they speak or their country of origin. I’m proud to see the House of Representatives pass my legislation to ensure that individuals with lawful status have the right to call a lawyer and receive assistance if they are detained by CBP. I’m grateful for those in Washington state who bravely came forward to share their stories about what happened to them at Sea-Tac and in Blaine as we worked to move this proposal through Congress.”

House Judiciary Committee Republicans opposed this bill when it was considered by the committee this Congress. In an April 16, 2021 minority views report, the Judiciary Republicans contended that this legislation “would significantly burden federal immigration agencies and do nothing to stop the Biden Border Crisis.” They called this bill’s right of access to counsel and an interested party “misguided,” as the bill doesn’t address the possibility that the interested party could be used to help further a crime (for example, to contact and communicate with a co-conspirator). Additionally, Judiciary Republicans argued that this bill would have “significant negative effects on CBP”:

“Giving individuals the right to access counsel during secondary inspection would have serious logistical and practical consequences for CBP’s ability to screen travelers and carry out its mission of facilitating lawful trade and travel quickly and efficiently… CBO officials have indicated that H.R. 1573 could increase the length of secondary inspections and drastically delay processing, which would have an upstream effect on primary inspection as well. CBO also notes that CBP does not have physical space in its ports to accommodate in-person attorney visits for everyone referred to secondary inspection. CBP will thus need to build out facilities to accommodate in-person attorney consultations and will have to dedicate countless additional manhours holding individuals in secondary inspection who are waiting for counsel or interested parties to show up at the port and spend time consulting. CBP will need to hire additional personnel at each port of entry, provide security and transportation for each individual seeking access to counsel, upgrade current space, and construct new space for necessary meetings. CBO estimates that H.R. 1573 will cost $825 million over the next five years… H.R. 1573 would only further strain CBP’s resources and complicate CBP’s ability to carry out its mission and protect our country.”

The Trump White House expressed opposition to this package and threatened to veto it over the inclusion of this bill and the NO BAN Act, while also chiding Democrats for adding prescription drug legislation to the bill that should’ve been considered separately. It wrote in a statement of administration policy:

“The Administration also opposes Title III of H.R. 2486, the Access to Legal Counsel Act of 2020, which would negatively affect trade and travel… Implementing this requirement would divert Government resources, including personnel, technology, and facilities, from their mission of facilitating lawful trade and travel, slowing processing times at our ports of entry.”

In the current session of Congress, this legislation has passed the House Judiciary Committee with the support of 49 Democratic House cosponsors. In the 116th Congress, it had 50 Democratic House cosponsors and passed the House as part of Rep. Alma Adams’ (D-NC) FUTURE Act

Leading immigration and civil rights groups, including OneAmerica, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and the Immigration Equality Action Fund, supported this bill in the 116th Congress.


Of NoteRep. Jayapal originally introduced this bill on February 13, 2017 in response to then-President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The ban unleashed chaos at airports across the U.S. as people from seven Muslim-majority countries were detained for hours without food in water, in some cases pressured to sign papers giving up their legal status, and then deported. In many cases, affected individuals weren’t given opportunities to see attorneys or even call anyone for legal guidance.

In early 2020, at least 200 people of Iranian descent were detained at the U.S.-Canada border in Blaine, Washington for up to 12 hours without access to counsel. These lengthy detentions occurred while CBP repeatedly denied that Iranian-Americans were being targeted for different treatment. A month after the incident, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said border officials had gotten “a little overzealous” in their actions.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell and Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / utah778)

AKA

Access to Counsel Act of 2021

Official Title

Access to Counsel Act of 2021

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed April 21st, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 217 Yea / 207 Nay
    IntroducedMarch 3rd, 2021

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    Access to our legal processes pertains to all people in this country, particularly those being forcibly detained by our country. Most industrialized democracies honor the rights of people to have legal representation so that legal processes can be expedited by courts with legal representatives who know the rules and can provide representation in a way that helps assure that justice is done and someone is not mistreated because they did not know or understand some of the arcane procedures required by our court systems. If we are going to detain than we must provide legal representation just like most of the democracies spawned from our prior examples. The fact that the trump dismantled much of the systems required and dispersed many of the people doing this work means that it has to be rebuilt. Perhaps we should enact an immigrant support tax on every voter who voted for the trump. You know all of the people demanding that everyone should be fully accountable for their own mistakes, kind of a put up or shut up moment. Now that seems to be a fair and equitable solution to prevent the many from shouldering the expenses caused by the irresponsible behavior of the few.
    Like (58)
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    I would not support this bill as written. Issue of payment of legal services aside, in short, I would support this for those who follow the US process, but would NOT support for those who are illegally entering. Once again, the operative word is "ILLEGAL". Why would we want to build on a illegal foundation? Why do we have laws if we are not going to abide by them?
    Like (24)
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    Of course they should have legal counsel, they are not slaves or property. Hopefully those days are over. We saw what happens when there is no counsel these last four years. You are thrown into concentration camps, denied basic human decency, hygiene, food, abused sexually and physically, families separated... and that’s by GQP; not to mention what ICE and border patrol thugs did. Talk about crimes against humanity. Welcome to the home of the twisted and perverts... USA. Should they have counsel??? Fuck YES
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, anyone facing trial in the United States should be granted legal counsel, no matter their status or situation. It's only just. Anything less would be a violation of human rights.
    Like (27)
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    Of course! These are human beings, probably in hardship, who are in a terrifying position without anyone to guide them. Any decent government would insist on providing them help!
    Like (13)
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    What is common practice elsewhere? It stands to reason that petitioners get legal counsel if only to ensure a modicum of fairness.
    Like (13)
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    Might as well roll out the red carpet. Is it an open border or not? At least tell us otherwise this is just more bureaucratic malarkey to help illegal aliens become citizens.
    Like (12)
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    This would benefit many people who do not know the English language well enough to interpret law and allow them to better understand their rights as well as access legal representation
    Like (11)
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    Yes, and should consult them frequently. Even if you think you know the answer, there are times, even after the fact, that consultation with a legal expert is valuable. Someone coming into the country are even more in need of counsel due to unfamiliarity with our laws and procedures.
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    In one word, NO! They crossed the border illegally, they were not asked to come here, why should we fit the bill for their legal costs? I understand the plight in their countries, we did not cause this problem. What happens to all of the foreign aid given to these countries? Corrupt government members steal the money to improve their living, leaving the rest to find what they can. Kind of sounds like the democrats in this country. As the sectary of state recently said “ in order for this country to become carbon emission zero some jobs will have to be sacrificed”. When did we build a bubble that covers the US? China continues to pollute and builds coal fired power plants with the blessing of the Biden administration. The workers and economy of the US are being sacrificed so the demoncrats can look good to the rest of the world. They need to be putting American first not last. Makes me think they don’t care about their own country or it’s citizens!
    Like (10)
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    We as a nation provides legal counsel to people that come before the courts all the time for all sorts of reason, even in deportation. This would stop the blanket fast track wholesale deportation, which is illegal. Individuals have a right to present their case and have counsel whether they can pay or not! We are a nation of rules, laws and processes, not just the well connected, elitist or privileged. This is a country of poor and downtrodden, built by them. We didn’t reject people from Cuba, boat people or others, how is this different? Like I have said many times, whether US or EU, to stop the migration you have to fix their country problems.
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    Off topic, under “You’ve got to be kidding me” followed by a snort of disgust. You know, the following piques my interest in moving to Florida just so I can vote the “wrong way.” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd proposed a simple solution on Monday. "So we only want to share one thing as you move in hundreds a day," Judd said at a news conference, with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to his left. "Welcome to Florida. But don't register to vote and vote the stupid way you did up north, or you'll get what they got.".... https://www.businessinsider.com/florida-sheriff-dont-register-to-vote-ron-desantis-video-2021-4 Judd was referring to a hallmark piece of legislation, championed and recently signed by DeSantis, that classifies a riot as three or more people, grants civil immunity to motorists who run over protesters, and prevents people accused of rioting from posting bail until their first court appearance.”
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    Absolutely, having legal representatives will help non citizens understand the process and hopefully overcome barriers to their admittance.
    Like (7)
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    We’ve made it complicated so having legal counsel make sense. Let’s work towards seeking the right solution instead of wasting people’s time and effort. Jay, why not provide legal representation for these people? Do you think that Donald will have legal representation when he answers for not paying his taxes and cheating in his business and election activities? How about the criminals that invaded the Congress, attacked the police, threatened citizens and tried to overturn the Constitution? These potential immigrants have done so much less than the criminals Republicans pay allegiance to.
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    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Stop this spending madness! Of people are detained there is likely a reason. Now we are going to PAY for their legal counsel! What is wrong with our government, they have no clue how the majority of American’s live! We can’t afford these outlandish ideas!
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    Yes. Every human being has a right to legal counsel. End of discussion.
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    There was not a maybe option. I’d have to read the full details. Those seeking legitimate asylum should have access to legal advice in filing their asylum claims. Those caught crossing illegally and just trying to enter illegally should not.
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    Knowledge is power. Migrants are penitents who need help. Part of that help are lawyers who know how to deal with the our Byzantine immigration laws.
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    Of course they should have that option! The government should first hear their case before taking irreversible actions. Just because they are immigrants without citizenship does not mean they should not be entitled to certain rights. This right is absolutely vital when it comes to CBP and ICE.
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    Detainees already have access to legal counsel and advice. The goal of this bill is to create so many encumbrances that the government will find it more expedient to allow the illegal alien to remain in the US, thus gaining another vote for the Democrat Party. I say no.
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