Michael Kagan


In theory, the Department of Homeland Security bears the burden of proof when it seeks to deport a person from the United States. But the government rarely has to meet it. This Article presents original data from live observation in Immigration Court, documenting that almost all respondents in deportation proceedings admit and concede the charges against them, even when they have attorneys, without getting anything in return from the government. Focusing especially on the role of immigrant defense lawyers, the Article explores why this is happening. It critiques the legal standards of proof used in Immigration Court, while also exploring normative ambiguities about the role of immigration lawyers in deportation proceedings. Together, these factors are effectively depriving many immigrants of the vigorous legal defense that they deserve.



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