Marty Rosenbluth represent clients who will probably lose. He knows what that’s like: His experience includes working with Amnesty as well as with a Palestinian legal rights group in Ramallah
Most of the year, Marty Rosenbluth lives alone in a small house in Lumpkin, a Georgia town with 2,000 residents and one restaurant. It’s 500 miles away from his wife and community in North Carolina.
Then he drives two miles down the road to a place even more isolated: the Stewart Detention Center, a private immigration detention facility surrounded by spools of barbed wire and housing nearly 2,000 undocumented immigrant men.
Rosenbluth aims to reduce that number as much as possible. He’s the only private immigration attorney in Lumpkin, on the often quixotic mission of representing undocumented immigrants at the strictest immigration court in the country. According to U.S. Justice Department statistics, as of 2016 only 7 percent of asylum seekers at Stewart had their requests granted. The national average was 43 percent.
So every morning the long-bearded Rosenbluth, 61, goes to court in a jacket and tie to represent clients who will probably lose. The Southern Poverty Law Center also has a small staff in town, but other undocumented immigrants at the court have lawyers represent them on the phone. Rosenbluth thinks that’s unconscionable.
“I acknowledge I’m on the extreme edge on this, but I believe it’s borderline malpractice,” he said of representation by phone. “I hate it. I just think there’s so much injustice already in the system here that not to be sitting next to your client in court — I just won’t do that.”
By JTA and Ben Sales for HAARETZ
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