Shackled Immigrants Regularly Appear in Immigration Court

Shackled Immigrants Regularly Appear in Immigration Court

A recent Boston Globe article highlighted the common practice in the Boston immigration court, as well as in some other immigration courts across the country, of shackling immigrants in chains while they are attending their court hearings. While some of the immigrants do have criminal records, many do not, which makes the practice all the more disturbing, particularly when the proceedings are occurring in civil court rather than criminal court. Although critics claim the shackling is treating immigrants more harshly than individuals accused of crimes in the American criminal justice system, some claim that shackling immigrants is necessary to protect the public from potential harm. For instance, in the Boston immigration courts, there are no bailiffs present to protect the judges. Shacking detainees makes it impossible to take notes, sit comfortably, or move the slightest bit, let alone try to defend themselves against permanent removal from the country. Testifying while in chains makes it all the more difficult to convince an immigration judge of the gravity of the detainee’s situation. A lawsuit in San Francisco led to the curtailed usage of shackles in San Francisco’s immigration court; however, the unintended consequence has been the increased use of videoconferences for immigration courts, which also can hinder a detainee’s ability to testify in a convincing manner that will truly convey the emotions and fear involved in his or her case. If you or your family member is detained on removal charges, you undoubtedly are frightened at the prospect of removal and the separation of your family by the borders of different countries. Especially for those individuals who have lived in the United States for a lengthy period of time and built a life with your family, the possibility of removal is absolutely horrifying. The first step, however, is to figure out whether you can be released from detention pending deportation, which is easiest if you have the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Our goal at Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., is to avoid your removal, or the removal of your family member, by mounting a strong legal defense. Call us today at (510) 756-4468 or contact us online in order to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled and experienced deportation defense attorneys.
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