Immigrants in Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds of Miles From Legal Help


Only a tiny percentage of detained immigrants have attorneys, leaving even those with solid cases to stay in the United States to fend for themselves.
News Story (NATIONAL)

Patrick Lee
ProPublica
May 16, 2017
READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Tags: Deportation, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: RAICES (Texas), Bronx Defenders


DETAILS

A ProPublica review found that access to free or low-cost legal counsel was limited at many centers. Government-funded orientation programs, which exist at a few dozen detention locations, typically include self-help workshops, group presentations on the immigration court process, brief one-on-one consultations and pro bono referrals, but they stop short of providing direct legal representation. And a list of pro bono legal service providers distributed by the courts includes many who don’t take the cases of detainees at all. Those that do can often only take a limited number — perhaps five to 10 cases at a time.

The legal help makes a difference. Across the country, 21 percent of detained immigrants who had lawyers won their deportation cases, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review study found, compared to just 2 percent of detainees without a lawyer. The study also found that 48 percent of detainees who had lawyers were released from detention while their cases were pending, compared to 7 percent of those who lacked lawyers.