The U.S. Customs and Border Protection noted that last month saw 200,000, a 21-year record high number, illegal immigrants being apprehended at the border.
Now under the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced it is looking at providing illegal immigrants seeking asylum with lawyers provided by the federal government and paid for by the taxpayers.
President Joe Biden’s 2022 FY immigration plan would authorize $15 million to cover the costs of private lawyers for “families and vulnerable individuals.” The Biden administration also wants another $23 million to cover legal orientation programs administered by the U.S. Justice Department.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the $15 million would barely cover the costs for several thousand people but nowhere near the number of illegals that were apprehended last month.
Heritage Foundation homeland security expert Lora Ries said this is just the beginning.
“Immigration lawyers charge between $150 and $300 per hour and asylum cases for each person could cost between $2,000 and $10,000,” Ries said. “You’re looking at spending over $500 million.”
The move by the Biden White House could prove Illegal.
The Center for Immigration Studies insisted the Immigration Nationality Act of 1952 bars the government from spending its own money on legal representation in immigration proceedings.
“This is just unprecedented. This is the first time any administration has proposed using taxpayer monies to pay such an expense,” said attorney Ron Davis, a legal commentator for Florida Daily.
Davis said it’s wrong for the federal government to provide lawyers for illegal immigrants.
“Immigration cases are civil matters,” Davis said. “When do you see U.S. citizens receiving taxpayer-funded legal representation if they are a defendant in a divorce or money dispute, which are also civil matters?”
Davis also pointed out that this type of representation is not guaranteed for American citizens.
The Heritage Foundation insisted that sending government-funded lawyers to the border won’t solve the problem with more than 1 million immigration cases already piled up in the court system.
Ries noted that the additional cases would only add to costs as the asylum process involves stops before an asylum officer and then an immigration judge. If a judge’s decision is appealed, a petition goes before the Board of Immigration Appeals and then reach a federal court. Ries said this many court procedures will leave taxpayers with an “astronomical” bill.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org