A project of the Center for Community Change

ACLU Finds Government Manual on How to Expedite Guilty Please from Undocumented Migrants

Recently, Dr. Eric Camayd-Frexais wrote a report exposing the flaws and injustices involved in the legal proceedings following May’s immigration raid in Postville, Iowa. The report was so damning and exposed so many injustices that a committee hearing in the House of Representative was recently held, followed by the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visiting Postville.

During the committee proceedings on Capitol Hill, a representative from the Department of Justice repeated numerous times that the decision to charge the immigrants with a criminal offense was made by the “career prosecutors in Iowa”.

As it turns out, however, all of the injustices witnessed by Dr. Camayd-Frexais and the decision to charge the immigrants with the criminal “aggravated ID theft” were pre-determined by the goverment.

Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union were able to get a hold of the government “manual” that was issued to defense lawyers representing the undocumented immigrant workers apprehended and prosecuted in Postville.

As Dr. Camayd-Freixas so expertly noted, there was purposeful disregard for the judicial process. What the federal translator didn’t realize was that it was all scripted. The ACLU has uncovered a government “how-to” manual regarding the prosecution and processing of undocumented migrants.

The manual contained “prepackaged scripts for plea and sentencing hearings as well as documents providing for guilty pleas and waivers of rights that were used to push the more than 300 Postville workers through mass criminal proceedings as quickly as possible.”

According to the ACLU analysis of the manual:

The government “manual” provided for the workers to waive all their legal rights and in the overwhelming majority of cases, to plead guilty to charges of falsely using identity documents for employment. It was an important tool used to rush defendants through the criminal justice and immigration systems without a criminal trial or immigration proceedings. The plea forms in the “manual” included a requirement barring immigrants from pursuing any legal claims or procedures under the immigration laws.

The revelation of this manual implies that the same “code of conduct” is being applied to apprehended undocumented immigrants in makeshift courts across the country in order to expedite their removal.

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