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Legal resources scarce for immigration detainees

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An immigrant detainee looks from his 'segregation cell' at the Adelanto Detention Facility on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California. Most detainees in segregation cells are sent there for fighting with other immigrants, according to guards. The facility, the largest and newest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), detention center in California, houses an average of 1,100 immigrants in custody pending a decision in their immigration cases or awaiting deportation. The average stay for a detainee is 29 days. The facility is managed by the private GEO Group. ICE detains an average of 33,000 undocumented immigrants in more than 400 facilities nationwide.
John Moore/Getty Images
An immigrant detainee looks from his 'segregation cell' at the Adelanto Detention Facility on November 15, 2013 in Adelanto, California.

Next to tax law, immigration law is arguably the most complex realm of our legal system. Yet very few people being held in immigration detention have a lawyer, usually because they can't afford one.

Next to tax law, immigration law is arguably the most complex realm of our legal system. Yet very few people being held in immigration detention have a lawyer, usually because they can't afford one.

Detainees do have access to a range of legal resources while in custody. But critics say it's not nearly enough to mount a reasonable defense against deportation. The California Report's Steven Cuevas looked into it.

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