I worked for a non-profit legal services organization in 1986-87 in Oakdale, Louisiana that was providing representation to Central American refugees imprisoned at the detention center in that small Louisiana town. At that time, there were practically no lawyers in Louisiana who had immigration law experience and almost none who spoke Spanish. Even the court interpreters at the immigration court inside the prison in Oakdale were deficient in Spanish. I listened to several hours of one recorded court hearing and wrote an affidavit noting the mistakes made by the court appointed translator for one of our clients from El Salvador. His asylum claim had been denied and the bad translation was one of factors used in his appeal.
Now it seems that Oakdale is the main source of immigration judges and lawyers in the state of Louisiana. The lack of due process for refugee children is one of the most disturbing aspects of the recent crisis. -Molly