Immigration Law

New York Program Makes Huge Difference in Immigration Court Outcomes

Dara Lind, VOX, Nov. 9, 2017 - "Soon, every eligible immigrant who gets detained in one of a dozen cities — including New York, Chicago, Oakland, California, and Atlanta — will have access to a lawyer to help fight their immigration court case.  The change started at Varick Street. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project started in New York City in 2013, guaranteeing access to counsel for detained immigrants.  According to a study released Thursday by the Vera Institute for Justice (which is now helping fund the representation efforts in the other cities, under the auspices of the Safe Cities Network), the results were stunning. With guaranteed legal representation, up to 12 times as many immigrants have been able to win their cases: either able to get legal relief from deportation or at least able to persuade ICE to drop the attempt to deport them this time.  So far, cities have been trying to protect their immigrant populations through inaction — refusing to help with certain federal requests. Giving immigrants lawyers, on the other hand, seemingly makes the system work better. And if it works, it could leave the Trump administration — which is already upset with the amount of time it takes to resolve an immigration court case — very frustrated indeed."