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Shackle restraints questioned in immigration detention hearings

Under current protocol, a Georgia immigrant facing criminal charges may be brought into the courtroom wearing shackles. However, some have questioned the need to do so in court appearances where an immigrant has not been criminally charged. Immigration advocates argue that it is unfair to treat people being held in immigration detention centers as though they are hardened criminals.

Some who support courtroom restraints say that many court buildings have limited security and that the current system helps protect public safety. Those who oppose shackle restraint at immigration hearings have said the personal safety of immigrants is being compromised because their ability to defend themselves is unfairly limited. In 2014, a class action lawsuit was filed to demand a curtailment of the use of shackle restraints during immigration hearings in another state.

Immigration detention hearings provide respondents opportunities to plead their cases for being permitted to remain in the United States. Many question why they should be made to testify in chains. Some federal judges agree, including one who ordered an officer to free an immigrant from restraints in a 2009 case.

That judge pointed out that he previously had three reputed mobsters in his courtroom, one of whom had killed three people; none of them were handcuffed. Some have suggested that more judges take control of their courtrooms by issuing orders to remove restraints from those being brought in from immigration detention centers. Anyone in Georgia facing issues regarding such matters may contact an immigration and naturalization attorney to discuss the situation.

Source: abovethelaw.com, "Immigration Courtrooms Are Completely Out Of Control", Joe Patrice, Aug. 29, 2016

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