WASHINGTON TIMES — Top Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that would grant government-funded lawyers to illegal immigrants who are part of the surge of Central Americans that have overwhelmed the border and stretched the immigration courts.
Though unlikely to advance in the GOP-controlled Congress, the legislation is an important marker for both the presidential campaign and for the ongoing debate over how the U.S. treats the illegal immigrants — and particularly the unaccompanied children — that have skyrocketed in recent years.
Sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the bill would allow illegal immigrants to delay their court dates until the government has provided them with documents. It would also require the Justice Department to appoint lawyers for illegal immigrant children and allow the department to grant lawyers to a wide range of other illegal immigrants as well.
Currently, those migrants are able to hire their own lawyers, but the government cannot pay for them.