Criminal Aliens:

Prison Deportation Hearings Include Opportunities to Contest Deportation

GGD-90-79: Published: May 25, 1990. Publicly Released: May 25, 1990.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO assessed whether imprisoned aliens who were subjected to deportation because of aggravated felony convictions could effectively contest deportation.

GAO found that: (1) in all 171 hearings, judges informed aliens of their right to representation and gave them the opportunity to obtain such representation; (2) 72 aliens had representation and, of the remaining 99, 55 aliens waived their right to representation, 36 aliens were granted an adjournment to obtain representation, and 8 aliens had their hearings proceed without representation; (3) immigration judges gave aliens a list of organizations willing to provide legal assistance either free or at a nominal rate; (4) generally, judges gave aliens the opportunity to hear the charges brought against them; (5) none of the hearings proceeded without interpreters, unless aliens requested English-language hearings; (6) in 102 cases, judges informed the aliens of their right to present evidence; (7) judges informed aliens of their deportation relief application rights and gave aliens guidance on the kind of relief they were entitled to, but did not inform aliens of their right to file for relief when no grounds were apparently available; and (8) for 76 cases where the judges ordered aliens deported, 14 aliens reserved the right to appeal, and 62 aliens waived that right.

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