Unlike other kinds of law where an attorney’s job might be to argue that her client did nothing wrong, a lot of immigration law begins with an admission of guilt. We concede that our clients entered the country illegally, or stayed longer than they were supposed to, or lied to the government about their marital status, or whatever else. Different circumstances call for different forms of legal relief, but a central feature in many of our cases is that our client did wrong and now he’s terribly sorry. Confession and penance are akin to sacraments in immigration law, and the process of asking the government to pardon your client’s digressions is a disconcerting combination of formulaic and theatrical.
Control of the Abuse of Power
One of the most common abuses of power is corruption, which occurs when government officials use public funds for their own benefit or they exercise power in an illegal way. To protect against these abuses, democratic governments are often structured to limit the powers of government offices and the people who work for them. For example, the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government have distinct functions and can “check and balance” the powers of other branches. In addition, independent agencies can investigate and impartial courts can punish government leaders and employees who abuse power.
Independent Judiciary Independent Judiciary
In democracies courts and the judicial system are impartial. Judges and the judiciary branch must be free to act without influence or control from the executive and legislative branches of government. They should also not be corrupt or obligated to influential individuals, businesses, or political groups. These ideas are related to the rule of law and to controlling the abuse of power. An independent judiciary is essential to a just and fair legal system.
The Rule of Law The Rule of Law
In a democracy no one is above the law—not even a king, elected president, police officer, or member of the military. Everyone must obey the law and will be held accountable if they violate it. Democracy also insists that laws are equally, fairly, and consistently enforced.