Justice and the US; immigration and disability

It turns out that people face greater injustice in the United States, well at least in regards to immigration. This is because individuals with mental disabilities are more likely to face erroneous deportation under the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The reason for this is the judicial system. In the US, immigrants have no right to free legal representation at their hearings. Normally this is bad, but the effects are compounded when these immigrants have mental disabilities, and are just unable to defend themselves and put across their reasons for seeking asylum.

Human Rights Watch has published a detailed report on the facts about this situation. This report details case after case whereby people with mental disabilities including US citizens were unable to represent themselves. A key fact that struck me from this story covered by HRW was

Some of the people interviewed for the report did not know their own names, were delusional, could not tell time, or did not know that deportation meant removal from the United States.

For those who prefer numbers, the statistics in 2008 were at least 57,000 detained immigrants who faced deportation, and of those, no less than 15 percent had mental disabilities.

This just shocked me: to think that in the 21st century this sort of illogical practice still occurs, or perhaps I still am too starry-eyed for my own good. However after seeing this story, I am sure that you’ll join me in my stupefaction at the workings of the US justice system.

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