These Cities Provide Free Legal Representation to Residents Facing Deportation.
To say that the current administration is pursuing an extremely tough immigration policy would be to put it mildly. Trump even went as far as canceling the Deferred Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which was designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The country has experienced massive raids that have endangered many, and as such, American cities are now working together to protect people from dangerous federal politics.
The Vera Institute of Justice has just awarded grant money to support an enterprise called the SAFE Cities Network. Cities in eight states have banded together to create a fund that will pay for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. All cities in the network had to apply to the Institute of Faith with a proposal to prove that they were ready to spend public money to protect deportation, which would then be supported by the Institute.
In conjunction with the announcement of the SAFE Cities Network, the Faith Institute has released new research that shows access to a lawyer is critical when it comes to keeping families together. The study highlights a “common misconception” that only illegal immigrants face deportation procedures; in fact, many people are vulnerable to entering the extremely complex world of immigration law:
In fact, any non-citizen, including legal permanent residents (green card holders), refugees and people who entered legally on a visa, can be subject to deportation.
And to cite some numbers, the New York Immigrant Family Unification Project reported that only 4% of cases were “successful” without a lawyer. NYUFUP is working to ensure universal access to Immigration Office and has achieved a 48% success rate since implementation, an increase of 1,100%.
At the moment, this is a list of cities in the SAFE network:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Austin, TX
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Chicago, Illinois
- Columbus, Ohio
- Dane County, Wisconsin
- Oakland / Alameda County, California
- Prince George County, Maryland
- Sacramento, California
- San Antonio, TX
- Santa Ana, California
The Baltimore Sun reports that Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Baltimore’s participation in SAFE Cities in a statement highlighting how ensuring proper legal representation makes everyone in the community safer:
“Our community is safest when our neighbors trust their officials and institutions and know they will be treated fairly and with dignity,” Pugh said in a press release. “Providing legal representation to those facing deportation maintains confidence in law enforcement and our local institutions and ensures the safety of us all. If our residents feel insecure — for example, reporting crimes and cooperating with law enforcement — we are all at greater risk. ”
SAFE Cities will ensure that anyone who qualifies for financial law gets a lawyer during deportation hearings if they are in one of the network’s related areas. It is not immediately clear how lawyers will connect with the people who need them, but the Vera Institute writes that they will “provide technical expertise and support, including assistance in identifying and training legal service providers, providing opportunities for sharing best practices with other jurisdictions. and ensuring the collection and analysis of data to assess the impact of the network. “
You can also look on the map where the supporting jurisdictions are located and try to contact them here . Due process is a foundational ideal in the United States, and these cities are working to extend it to everyone living here.