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The Center collaborated with LAC to produce a white paper addressing the law, policy and practice surrounding right to counsel in non-removal contexts before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To reach this end, students at the Center reviewed an internal legal memorandum prepared by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and LAC; a detailed memo prepared by the Center analyzing individual attorney experiences with restrictions on access before DHS; and conduct additional research pertaining to access to counsel. The white paper articulates the legal and policy standards governing an individual’s right to counsel in various non-removal settings in order to provide a framework for understanding the rights of represented individuals as well as the agency culture that continues to limit and deny representation in encounters before DHS. The white paper illustrates how current DHS practices 1) do not comply with existing law and/or 2) are restrictive interpretations of the law that are not good policy. The paper includes recommendations to DHS and possibly other federal agencies for improving access to counsel through administrative fixes that may or may not include regulatory fixes and changes to current agency guidance.

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Immigration Law

Behind Closed Doors: An Overview of DHS Restrictions on Access to Counsel