Record: Legal Oral History Project: Manlin Chee, March 1, 2001.
Legal Oral History Project: Manlin Chee, March 1, 2001.
|Video Call Number:||Location:|
|1460||Biddle Law Library|
Chee had been a nationally recognized lawyer for her work with immigrants, some of it pro bono, and much of it for Muslims, but things soured for her soon after she appeared on a panel discussing the PATRIOT Act in March 2003. The public forum at the main library in Greensboro, North Carolina was televised and attracted a large audience. Chee argued passionately that the PATRIOT Act violated the Bill of Rights and threatened the civil rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens. Indeed, within weeks the FBI began investigating Chee, says her attorney Locke Clifford. Clifford says the FBI had no record of complaints against her. But the agency began combing through thousands of Chees case files. They even went back to her own citizenship application. The agents interviewed her clients and employees for over a year, until they indicted Chee for immigration fraud on June 26, 2004. It was a dramatic fall for the successful attorney who once had offices in three cities and thousands of clients. The American Bar Association awarded Chee its public service award in 1991, which was presented to her by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor. She also received the 1990 William L. Thorp Pro Bono Award by the North Carolina Bar Association. The Triad Business News called her "one of the foremost immigration attorneys in North Carolina if not the country." Many think that it was her political views that caused Chees troubles.
- Chee, Manlin