ABA President Hilarie Bass applauded the Justice Department’s decision April 25 to continue funding the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) for detained immigrants while it conducts a cost-benefit analysis.
Bass had expressed concerns about the department’s announcement April 10 that funding would be abruptly suspended as of April 30 for the program, which she said “provides critical legal information and assistance to adults held in immigration detention centers around the country.”
When the department announced that it was suspending LOP funding to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the program, Bass pointed out in a statement that LOP “has a track record of effectively saving the government millions of dollars a year in immigration court and detention costs while providing due process and dignity to individuals involved in the immigration court system.”
She highlighted the work of the ABA ProBar program, which has provided information orientations, workshops and other presentations with LOP funding to thousands of immigrant detainees in South Texas since 2003 and in San Diego since 2008. These sessions include information about the detainees’ rights to an interpreter, to present evidence in their cases, and to appeal decisions.
The ABA urged the department to continue funding LOP at its current level during the cost-benefit analysis and asked Congress to ensure appropriate funding as well.