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Preserving Aliens' and Migrant Workers' Access to Civil Legal Services: Constitutional and Policy Considerations

31 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2010  

Laura Abel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Risa Kaufman

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Restricting the availability of civil legal aid lawyers to help immigrants and migrant workers - as Congress and some states have done - is bad public policy. It leaves immigrant and migrant workers particularly vulnerable to workplace abuses. It undermines enforcement of minimum wage, workplace safety and other protections, to the detriment of the entire society. Such restrictions can be unconstitutional, too. Restrictions targeting migrant workers violate the right to travel grounded in the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV of the Constitution. The constitutional right of equal protection bars the denial of state-funded legal assistance to various categories of documented aliens, and the denial of government-funded civil legal aid to undocumented children.

Keywords: legal services, civil legal aid, legal representation, access to justice, LSC, state, federal, immigrants, migrant workers, workers' rights, workplace safety, minimum wage, Privileges and Immunities Clause, equal protection, documented aliens, undocumented

JEL Classification: I3, K1, K4, I18, J18

Suggested Citation

Abel, Laura and Kaufman, Risa, Preserving Aliens' and Migrant Workers' Access to Civil Legal Services: Constitutional and Policy Considerations (2003). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 5, April 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1532912

Laura Abel (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Risa Kaufman

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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