Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Flagstaff is warning attorneys they could be prosecuted or lose their law licenses for helping the recent wave of asylum seekers at the border.
"We actually have a law — you may not like the law, it is a law until you change it — and that is aiding and abetting an illegal alien,” Gosar said in a recent interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.
“What we need to do is also hold those that are actually helping — what they’re saying is help, but assisting in a crime — to be prosecuted as well. Bar complaints need to be filed. We need to get tough.”
Gosar, a border hardliner, suggests all attorneys helping migrants are committing a crime.
We verified whether attorneys who provide legal advice to refugees are breaking any laws.
“I welcome Congressman Gosar to file a bar complaint against me,” said Ray Ybarra Maldonado, a Phoenix immigration attorney. “He wants to get the [U.S.] marshal to come over and arrest me? Put the handcuffs [on]."
Maldonado has met refugees on the Mexico side of the border and walked them into the U.S. Port of Entry to present a claim for asylum.
“It's a very intimidating process,” he said, “because the [customs] officers don't want attorneys down there.”
We verified that the federal Immigration and Nationality Act does grant asylum seekers the right to have an attorney.
The law says the attorney general shall advise an asylum seeker of the right to be represented by a lawyer and provide a list of lawyers who can represent the asylum seeker at no charge.
I asked Congressman Gosar's spokeswoman to cite the specific law that he believes attorneys for refugees are breaking. She cited a statute on smuggling undocumented immigrants into the United States.