Legal Aid Society


LAS Issues Letter Condemning Disappearance of Immigrant Clients

The Legal Aid Society, along with several other organizations, issued a joint letter last week calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cease the recent and sudden transfers of immigrant clients detained in NYC-area jails to facilities around the country without prior notice to their attorneys, as reported by Gothamist.

ICE deportation officers have refused to respond to reasonable inquiries from counsel about their clients’ whereabouts, leading to protest actions such as one that took place on June 8th at Bergen County Jail in New Jersey where ICE houses detainees.

Legal Aid lawyers say the transfers have serious implications for detained immigrants’ ability to access counsel, evidence, and witnesses for their cases, and to contact and be supported by their family members and other loved ones. They are calling for ICE to cease out-of-state transfers and immediately release all recently transferred individuals as well as all those currently detained in the NYC-area.

“We call on ICE to immediately cease transfers of our clients,” the letter states. “The practice of transferring detainees without notice to undisclosed locations where they are deprived of access to their families and counsel is callous and unnecessary, especially when it is entirely within ICE’s power and discretion to release them instead.”