Montgomery County Considers Legal Aid for Those Facing Deportation

What to Know

  • A Maryland county is considering whether it will fund lawyers for immigrants facing deportation.
  • The county council is discussing spending $374,000 on the effort.
  • The money would go toward Washington-based nonprofit Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.

Montgomery County is considering whether it will fund lawyers for immigrants facing deportation.

The Montgomery County Council discussed Tuesday whether it will spend $374,000 on the effort. The Washington Post reports deportation proceedings are civil matters, not criminal. As such, people facing deportation aren't entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“We have all said that we are not going to stand by while the Trump administration intimidates and terrorizes and victimizes a very substantial part of our population,” Council Member George Leventhal said.

The funding would apply to those facing deportation with a household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level who haven't been convicted of serious crimes including rape or murder.

The money would go toward Washington-based nonprofit Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.

Those who appear in court with an attorney are four times more likely to prevail in their cases, Joanna Silver, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Deportation Defense Coalition, said.

But some county residents don’t believe taxpayer money should be used to provide people who are living in the U.S. illegally with legal representation.

The council is scheduled to host a public hearing on May 1 before making a decision. If approved, the county will join the city of Baltimore and Prince George's County as jurisdictions that fund legal representation for immigrants facing deportation.

“Under this administration, now everybody is up for grabs,” Claudia Cubas, a spokeswoman for Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, said. “We’re seeing parents. We’re seeing mothers. We’re seeing young DACA dreamers.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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