MBA Supports Metro Public Defender Immigrant Protection Project
The MBA is committed to access to justice and the strength of the judiciary. With that in mind, the MBA is supporting the Metropolitan Public Defender Immigrant Protection Project. This project will allow some of the most vulnerable residents in our area access to the legal help they need in order to participate in the protections that our legal system provides.
As an immigrant to this country, the rule of law and the strength of the judiciary were a shining beacon. After living in several countries where the rule of law is nonexistent, and where judges were for sale to the highest bidder, the idea that having a wrong righted was available to any person living in this country was breathtaking. Through the years I have learned that our judicial system is not perfect, but is a work in progress where the ideals are strong but in some areas, the implementation is weak. One of those areas is access to justice. Our judges are not for sale to the highest bidder, but sometimes, those who do not have the resources needed may not receive equal protection under our laws.
A whole population comes to mind when discussing access to justice: undocumented residents of our state. With increased ICE activity, especially at our courthouse, our judicial system is being compromised. Defendants in criminal cases, even when innocent, face extreme risk in showing up at courthouses. Victims of crimes, financial and physical, are afraid to access the judicial system due to fear of deportation if they have to appear in court.
If you would like further information, learn more about the Immigrant Protection Project here. For additional details, contact Metro Public Defender Executive Director Lane Borg at email@example.com.
Rima I. Ghandour
Director, Multnomah Bar Association Board