Ninth Circuit Confirms Right to Counsel in Reasonable-Fear Asylum Hearings


I like reading the Courthouse News because even though TDS is strong with them, they do try to slip in a little news from time to time. The other thing is that if you see a headline that should be causing the Left to do the We Got Trump This Time Happy DanceTM but it isn’t, you can be sure that there’s something they’d really wish you didn’t know.

Here’s a tweet from the other day.

WHOA! Big if true, right? We’ve been talking about this (or at least I have) for a number of months and if every individual that wants to claim asylum can have a lawyer, that ensures that the system will be gummed up forever.

To recap here a bit, it’s time to reread Amendment 14:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The bottom line is that the use of the word “person” rather than “citizen” is where the notion comes from that everyone in this country is entitled to be represented by counsel. I’m rather OK with this. One thing to note is that persons do not have a right to counsel appointed by a court if they are unable to afford one. They must pay for their own which really means having one from a non-profit provided to them.

In the case of immigration, the courts have extended the right to counsel during a “reasonable fear” interview which determines whether an asylum seeker can move forward in the process. Again, I don’t have a problem with this.

However, what’s happening is that the Left is using all of this as a way to gum up the system.

“Why are you seeking asylum?”

“I’m not señor. I made a wrong turn and was just looking for directions.”

“OK. You can go.”

“I OBJECT! My client has a reasonable fear of not being able to find where he needs to go.”

“OK. You’re right. Throw him in a cage.”

“But I just want to go home!”

“I OBJECT! My client is mentally unstable since no one whats to get back to that shithole country.”

“OK. You’re right. Give him free medical care as well.”

OK. So let’s look at this case. The judge ruled that the defendant, Baldemar Zuniga, wasn’t notified of his right to counsel. Let’s all read the transcript together:

JUDGE: In these proceedings you have the right to counsel of your own choosing, but the government will not pay for your attorney. You should have received a copy of the free legal service list. Did you get that list?
JUDGE: So, sir, do you have a lawyer?
ZUNIGA: I do not.

If you read the rest of the article, what you see that Mr. Zuniga then got himself a lawyer who came up with all sorts of reasons why his client didn’t understand his rights. By the way, Mr. Zuniga was brought into the country as an infant and has always lived here. I bet he’s also seen episodes of Chicago PD and damn well knows every right and psuedo-right.

However, such is the way our legal system goes and there will no doubt be something like a Miranda rights card developed as a result of all of this.

But this should really be a big deal! Why haven’t you heard of this being blasted all across the MSM? After all, it’s very key to gumming up the asylum process.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Zuniga is a convicted member of a cartel who testified against two co-conspirators in open court. His “reasonable fear” is that if he’s deported, someone is going to cap his sorry ass! Ya think!

The judges ordered a new hearing for Zuniga before an immigration judge “in which his right to counsel is honored.”

Like a lot of these things, this smells to high heavens. Zuniga was convicted of an aggravated felony. One might speculate that he offered to testify in exchange for being deported rather than go to jail. If so and his reasonable fear argument holds up, he could conceivably be able to stay in the country, be granted asylum (which now makes him legal), apply for a Green Card, and ultimately become a citizen.


Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

Site owner and bilagáana


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