Featured Issue: Ensuring Legal Representation for People Facing Removal

Despite the critical role legal representation plays in ensuring fairness in removal proceedings, the law still does not guarantee the government will pay for counsel if the person is unable to afford one. According to a 2016 study by the American Immigration Council, people were five times more likely to obtain legal relief if they were represented by counsel and people who were detained were ten-and-a-half times more likely to succeed. In the absence of a universal right to counsel, a significant portion of people in removal proceedings—at least 40 percent—are unrepresented by counsel.

Despite the critical role legal representation plays in ensuring fairness in removal proceedings, the law still does not guarantee the government will pay for counsel if the person is unable to afford one. According to a 2016 study by the American Immigration Council, people were five times more likely to obtain legal relief if they were represented by counsel and people who were detained were ten-and-a-half times more likely to succeed. In the absence of a universal right to counsel, a significant portion of people in removal proceedings—at least 40 percent—are unrepresented by counsel.

AILA calls upon President Biden and Congress to increase federal funding to expand legal representation for people in removal proceedings.

Government Announcements

Advocacy Resources

Funding for Legal Representation

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21050438.