As a child, Adela Mason was very concerned with fairness, and people used to tell her that she should become a lawyer.
“And they didn’t always say it in a complimentary way,” Mason said with a laugh.
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Mason is the director of the American Bar Association’s Immigration Justice Project in San Diego. The project provides free legal representation to immigrants in need, including asylum-seekers.
“Now, to me ‘fairness’ is equity, and being ‘argumentative’ I would frame as advocating."
While immigrant detainees have a right to counsel, they don't have a right to government-appointed counsel. That means that most detainees have to navigate the complexity of the U.S. immigration system on their own.