Temporarily Legal Guardianship Form a Legal Home
In a case that has become the latest flashpoint in Arizona’s immigration law, a lawyer who specializes in legal guardianships for undocumented immigrants is challenging a law that bars her from providing her services in the state.
The lawyer, Jennifer Rocha, says she is trying to provide legal assistance to the family of a woman who was deported to Guatemala in 2013 after she was detained for more than two years in a jail in the Arizona desert.
The woman was the subject of an immigration detainer, which requires the state to turn over documents about a person suspected of committing a crime or of committing other serious crimes.
But under Arizona’s current law, Rochas attorneys must turn over those documents as soon as they are received by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Rochas has been working on the case for months, working on an immigrant-rights group’s petition to have the detainer removed.
In February, the group filed a lawsuit to have Rochasa fired from her practice.
The lawsuit claims that Arizona’s temporary guardianship law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Phoenix on Tuesday was filed after Rochasse said she could not comply with the law, according to the suit.
The suit was filed in response to the Arizona legislature’s recent immigration reform bill that requires judges to issue temporary guardianships to certain immigrants.
Rochasel declined to comment on the suit, and the attorney for the Arizona governor did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Rocheas attorneys have been trying to obtain an immigration judge’s order to remove the temporary guardians’ order.
The family had sought the temporary order to force Rochase to comply with immigration law.
Rocheas lawyers had argued in court papers that the family’s “credible fears” that Rochases “services would be used to violate immigration laws” were not sufficient to justify an order to take away the temporary orders.
The Arizona attorney general’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
The temporary guardians law was first proposed in 2015, after President Donald Trump vowed to stop sending undocumented immigrants back to Central America.
But in 2016, Trump signed a bill that eliminated the current legal status of some illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported.
Under the law that replaced the current temporary guardians, the state of Arizona can grant temporary legal guardians, which typically require an immigration court order, to undocumented immigrants who are eligible for legal guardians.
Rohase said in her complaint that Rohase’s practice of providing guardianship has been “a longstanding practice of hers” and that it was “a source of substantial personal and financial loss” to the woman’s family.
She also alleged that Rachas “is aware that Ritzas is currently receiving an immigration order that is preventing her from taking her services to Arizona” and said that Richas was not providing legal counsel for the family.
The court documents said Rochasing had received “several” immigration detainers since her practice began.
Rachase said she was “not aware” of the current detainer situation, but added that she was prepared to comply if it meant her services could help the family “gain legal custody of their child.”