A New York courtroom gave every detained immigrant a lawyer. The results were staggering.

And now, a dozen more cities are getting on board.
News Story (NATIONAL, New York)

Dara Lind
November 9, 2017

Tags: Courts, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Vera Institute of Justice, Brooklyn Defender Services


There’s no right to counsel in immigration court, which is part of the executive branch rather than the judiciary. Often, an immigrant’s only shot at legal assistance before they’re marched in front of a judge is the pro bono or legal aid clinic that happens to have attorneys at that courthouse. Those clinics have such limited resources that they try to select only the cases they think have the best shot of winning — which can be extremely difficult to ascertain in a 15-minute interview.

But advocates and local governments are trying to make cases like Siagha’s the rule, and not the exception. Soon, every eligible immigrant who gets detained in one of a dozen cities — including New York, Chicago, Oakland, and Atlanta — will have access to a lawyer to help fight their immigration court case.