On Tuesday, The Montgomery County Council in Maryland unanimously approved a budget measure to provide $373,957 in funding to provide legal defense for county residents facing deportation.
“It was a misappropriation of taxpayer money for their pet projects at the expense of the community, and community safety,” Gail Weiss told WMAL radio.
The money was reportedly set to go to the Capital Area Immigrant’s Rights Coalition but they decided to back out after the list of crimes that would exclude someone from taxpayer-funded representation grew to include traffic, property, financial, substance abuse offenses and other minor crimes.
“The council understands that more public and private resources are needed to provide legal representation as immigration law is complex and the immigration court system is not an independent branch of government,” Council Vice-President Nancy Navarro said during Tuesday’s meeting. “These services are needed for both people who are detained, as well as those who have not been detained.”
Legally, deportation is a civil procedure - as is bankruptcy.
There is no fund set up to provide tax payer funded counsel for Montgomery County residents going through that particular legal process at this time.