Despite pushing bills in several states to create single-payer tax-funded healthcare for illegal aliens, the open-borders lobby has been repeatedly coming up empty with that particular scheme. Where they’ve been far more disturbingly successful, particularly at the local rather than state level, has been in setting up taxpayer-funded legal aid programs to try to keep illegal aliens from being deported. Conveniently for them, it’s also a cash cow from which they can line their own pockets. The combination of self-righteous rhetoric and blatant greed may be one of their most audacious moves yet.
To begin with, as much as they would like the public to be confused about this, no one has a right (constitutional or otherwise) to a publicly-funded lawyer in immigration proceedings. Deporting someone from this country is a civil, administrative process, not criminal. What the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees, as the Supreme Court held in the seminal 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright, is that if someone is charged in criminal court and can’t afford a lawyer, they have to be provided with one paid for from public funds, i.e., by the taxpayers. American citizens don’t have the right to a lawyer at taxpayer expense in civil disputes, like in family court, or landlord-tenant court, or even when the IRS sues them for unpaid taxes.
Nonetheless, more and more cities and counties have decided to spend precious tax dollars—overwhelmingly earned and paid for by American citizens and legal residents—on paying lawyers to do whatever they can to keep people here who have no right to be here. The lawyers themselves are mostly committed open-borders zealots, of course, and more than happy to take the money. And it’s not just in the usual suspects like San Francisco, Seattle and Austin, but places like Columbus, Ohio, and Washtenaw County, Michigan, among others.
Particularly outrageous is how often these legal-aid schemes are set up in places that otherwise constantly bemoan their lack of funds to address myriad needs, with their hands out for more tax money from levels of government higher up. The City of Baltimore, for instance, apparently can’t even heat its public schools on its own, yet somehow mysteriously has no problem finding $100,000 somewhere (matched by another $100,000 from an open-borders nonprofit) to provide legal assistance for illegal aliens, all while taking over $1.2 billion in annual handouts from the State of Maryland and over $150 million more from the federal government. That means these cities aren’t just funding legal aid for illegals with their own local money (as bad as that alone would be); they’re actually being subsidized by American taxpayers nationwide to do it.
As much as this has been largely a local phenomenon until now, it’s begun trickling up to the state level. In New York for the past two years, Governor Andrew Cuomo requested, and the state legislature provided, $10 million for the absurdly-named “Liberty Defense Project” to represent illegal aliens at no charge.
And in Vermont, a bill filed in January, Senate Bill 237, would make the state’s public defenders responsible for representing illegal aliens in immigration court, stretching their already scarce resources away from their current constitutional obligations to their clients in criminal court, who are undoubtedly mostly American citizens. The bill has now passed both chambers of the legislature, although in different forms so it’s possible the House and Senate still might not work out their differences before they’re scheduled to adjourn on May 4. If they do, Republican Governor Phil Scott can’t be counted on to veto it. Nominal party affiliation notwithstanding, he proudly signed the Green Mountain State’s sanctuary bill into law last year.
Taxpayers across the country should be up in arms over this growing, insane, harmful, lawless rip-off of their hard-earned money. Literally anything else would be money better spent.