Nolan Rappaport writes in The Hill:
“A few days after the Chicago City Council approved Mayor Emanuel’s Legal Protection Fund, Los Angeles officials announced that they had created a legal defense fund too. With help from philanthropists, Los Angeles established a $10 million fund to provide legal assistance for the city’s undocumented immigrants who are placed in removal proceedings.
These funds are an extension of their sanctuary city status to protect undocumented immigrants.
Chicago passed such an ordinance four years ago which provides that police can only give federal immigration officers information on undocumented immigrants that have arrest warrants out on them or are convicted criminals. This only applied to Chicago.
California, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Colorado have made their entire states immigrant sanctuaries.
Point No. 4 in President-Elect Trump’s 10-Point Plan to Put America First calls for an end to sanctuary cities, which presumably will be done by threatening to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with his administration’s enforcement program.
Mayor Emanuel’s Legal Protect Fund may be a more effective way to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation and it should avoid that threat.
The benefit of legal representation is illustrated by TRAC statistics which show that the likelihood of success with an asylum application is much higher with representation [chart omitted].”
New York City has also done some outstanding work on providing representation to needy migrants in Immigration Court. In the full article, Nolan also points out that EOIR’s recently revised program for non-attorney Accredited Representatives — now administered by the Office of Legal Access Programs (“OLAP”) rather than the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) — presents important opportunities for improving and expanding pro bono representation.
Additionally, Professor Michele Pistone of Villanova Law School is developing a revolutionary “modular training program” for Accredited Representatives that could dramatically increase both the number and quality of those willing to serve nonprofit organizations in this currently underutilized capacity.
Looks like lots of creative thinking combined with effective action is going on among the members of the immigration pro bono community. Providing and facilitating representation is is probably the most important aspect of providing due process in Immigration Court. In stark contrast to these efforts by the non-Federal sector, the “prioritization” of cases of recently arrived families by the U.S. Department of Justice has seriously impeded due process in contravention of the mission and vision of the U.S. Immigration Courts.