New legislation would guarantee a public defender for undocumented workers in VT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF/WVNY) – Vermont lawmakers are considering legislation that would guarantee immigrants the right to a public defender, whether or not they are documented. Senator Debbie Ingram of Williston is the lead sponsor.

Ingram says often times people dealing with immigration issues “fall through the cracks” of the system, going unrepresented and without access to proper services.

Recent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspired Ingram to introduce the bill. She says it would help all 14 of the people recently detained by ICE in Colchester.

“Even if they have immigration problems or they are completely undocumented, if they are on American soil they should be treated according to American values and one of the rights in our constitution is that people are legally represented in court proceedings,” said Ingram, D- Chittenden County.

The bill is currently being reviewed by the judiciary committee. Ingram says there have been some concerns over how much this could cost.

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