WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has decided that immigrants facing deportation do not have an automatic right to an effective lawyer.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey says in a 33-page decision that the Constitution does not entitle someone facing deportation to have his case reopened based upon shoddy work by a lawyer.
Mukasey says Justice Department officials do have the discretion to reopen such cases.
Immigrants rights groups say Mukasey's decision rejects decades of established legal practice. Mukasey's ruling comes less than two weeks before the Bush administration leaves office. Democrat Barack Obama takes the oath as president on Jan. 20.
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