U.S. Ordered to Allow Detained Immigrants Access to Lawyers

(Bloomberg) -- More than 800 undocumented immigrants who were transferred to a federal prison in California this month should be allowed access to lawyers, a U.S. judge said.

The government can’t conduct immigration proceedings or deport any of the immigrants at the Victorville prison until the detainees have had an opportunity to consult with a lawyer or attend a “know your rights” training, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II in Los Angeles said Thursday.

The judge issued a temporary order to allow immigration attorneys to communicate with the detainees after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit two days ago, saying that lawyers had been turned away at the facility east of Los Angeles.

The federal government has said it wants to house about 1,000 detained immigrants in Victorville as part of its “zero-tolerance” policy, under which it intends to prosecute every misdemeanor illegal entry violation, according to the ACLU complaint.

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