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CambioWe as Americans know when a person is arrested and jailed in our country he or she has the right to a lawyer regardless of ability to pay.

Here’s the thing, though. People –including American citizens — who are jailed on immigration violations DO NOT have those same rights.

An immigration lawyer sure would have been helpful in the case of North Carolinian Mark Lyttle, a mentally ill native of Rowan County who was deported TWICE to Mexico in 2008. And there’s this doozy, where a man (finally determined to be a U.S. citizen by birthright) whose father is a U.S. citizen was deported at least four times based on a non-existent passage in the Mexican constitution.

Yes. As crazy as it sounds, American citizens get jailed and deported. Regularly.

According to immigration lawyer Kara Hartzler’s 2008 testimony in front of the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Immigration, her Arizona non-profit sees between 40 and 50 cases per month of people in immigration detention who have potentially valid claims to U.S. citizenship.

“These individuals will commonly be detained for weeks, months, and even years while attempting to prove their citizenship. While some are ultimately successful, others often abandon their cases in the face of what can feel like indefinite detention,” Hartzler states.

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