Immigrant Rights Organizations Urge Congress to Fund Representation for Adults Facing Deportation

Via The Blue Diamond Gallery

By Sofia Hosseinzadeh

WASHINGTON, DC – The due process right of immigrants facing deportation is currently under threat. according to a letter by more than 100 immigrant rights organizations in a plea to Congress to include funding to guarantee legal representation for immigrants.

In their letter, immigrant organizations demanded a $400 million allocation of funds in Congress’ 2025 funding bill for the Dept. of Justice to provide legal representation for immigrants facing deportation trials.

“There is no right to a government-provided attorney in immigration court,” the letter noted, adding, “People who appear in immigration court must pay for an attorney or go without representation while navigating complex rules and regulations against well-trained U.S. government attorneys, often in a language they do not understand.”

According to a Vera Institute press release, the 2024 appropriations bill and President Biden’s 2025 budget request both do not include funding dedicated to providing legal representation for immigrants facing deportation trials.

“Legal representation is one clear solution that would alleviate pressure on the heavily backlogged and outdated immigration system while also safeguarding people’s due process rights,” the Vera Institute argued.

Under the current environment in which immigrants are facing deportation trials, the letter cited that according to a linked report, 63 percent of immigrants attending deportation proceedings are underrepresented and 83 percent had no counsel.

“Such unfair barriers create serious due process concerns- which are even more alarming given that many deportation cases involve life or death consequences,” the letter continued.

The letter argued representation benefits migrants, noting 63 percent of deportation proceedings had successful outcomes when the immigrant had representation as compared to only a 10 percent success rate for deportation proceedings without representation.

In addition to immigrants receiving proper representation in court, the letter maintained increased representation also benefits the U.S. economically, stating, “Keeping workers and business owners on the job and keeping families and communities together helps the economy.”

With the $400 million allocation of funds, the letter asked for $50 million to be used to “invest in building urgently needed legal services infrastructure, including resources for staffing, training, and retention, enabling states, local governments, and community organizations to meet the growing demand for immigration legal representation.”

“This allocation is a necessary step in building a strong foundation to ensure that all people facing deportation and its devastating consequences have access to legal representation and a fighting chance to stay rooted in their jobs, families, and communities,” the letter concluded.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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