Immigrants detained at Texas border not given lawyers

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The police declined to comment on whether the men would have access to a lawyer At least a dozen immigrants being detained in Texas at the US-Mexico border…

Immigrants detained at Texas border not given lawyers

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The police declined to comment on whether the men would have access to a lawyer

At least a dozen immigrants being detained in Texas at the US-Mexico border have no legal representation, Mexican lawyers say.

The lawyers allege that the men were chosen at random and did not follow the proper procedure to avoid being kept in a detention centre for the duration of their trial.

Most of the men are from Guatemala, the lawyers say.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) says that the detainees are being held lawfully.

It told the BBC that officers were interviewing and fingerprinting the men on the US side of the border on Thursday and Friday, and that authorities would determine who should be jailed and not held in the USA.

The men are thought to be in “immigration detention”, according to one of the Mexican lawyers, William Saldivar.

Though he said there would likely be additional hearings to determine who would be held, he acknowledged that lawyers would not be present at those hearings.

There are no checks on who is detained in the US and who is in jail in Mexico, according to Mr Saldivar.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Central American migrants try to cross the border into the US this year

He said the attorneys were not familiar with the detail of the case, but said that for the judge’s instructions, it was necessary for lawyers to be present during pretrial detention hearings.

One of the attorneys said: “It is just common sense to have representation [at a detention hearing].”

In an email statement to the BBC, the DPS said: “They are being detained lawfully because they are in the interior of the United States and are awaiting a lawful removal from the country.”

If the men are found to be deportable, they could be held for up to 18 months under immigration law.

Both President Donald Trump and Mexico have called for crackdowns on immigration.

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