- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday he will keep intact a legal advice program for illegal immigrants and other people facing deportation, bowing — at least for now — to pressure from Congress.

Mr. Sessions said he’s still skeptical of the Legal Orientation Program, and the Justice Department will continue a review of it, but he will keep it running for now.

“I have ordered there be no pause while that review is conducted,” he told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The LOP informs migrants awaiting deportation of their rights, and suggests potential legal migration avenues they might apply for.

Immigrant-rights advocates say it’s successful, and say it’s the bare minimum the government should grant to people facing long-term or permanent ouster from the U.S.

People facing deportation are allowed to have lawyers in the immigration courts, but because deportation is a civil matter, they are not guaranteed taxpayer-funded lawyers, as they would be in criminal proceedings.

Immigration advocates want to see lawyers in most cases, but say the LOP program is important in the meantime.

Senators had warned Mr. Sessions against suspending the program, saying they believed the appropriations laws required the program to be kept up and running.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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