NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Legal Services In Recruits Clients Abroad

August 21, 1998

Lawyers paid with American taxpayers' dollars were recently caught on videotape in Mexico recruiting migrant Mexican farm workers to sue American farmers. The lawyers were members of Farmworkers Legal Services of North Carolina -- a group which last year got about $400,000 from the Legal Services Corporation.

  • The LSC -- which has a history of funding controversial and, some would argue, illegal causes -- is asking Congress to increase from $283 million to $340 million its appropriation next year, a request the Clinton administration supports.
  • The North Carolina lawyers went to Mexico to meet with the alien farm workers early this year and encourage them to file suits.
  • The trip cost $10,000 plus more than 400 hours of legal time.
  • In testimony to Congress, the LSC contended the trip's purpose was "community education."

But by law, the LSC is forbidden from using funds to give "legal assistance" to aliens outside the U.S.

Source: Jason Brooks (Reason magazine), "Taxpayers Shouldn't Fund Migrant Legal Labor," Wall Street Journal, August 21, 1998.


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