Too often, immigrants are deported not because they legally cannot stay in the United States, but simply because they can’t afford an attorney. Of the more than 1.25 million people with pending cases in the immigration court system, 500,000 lack representation.
Immigrants are our community members. They are our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. To leave them without adequate support and representation is immoral and unethical. That’s why Vera, along with more than 100 of our partners, demands a nationwide immigration public defense system.
The US immigration system routinely expects immigrants with no legal representation to navigate a confusing maze of outdated rules and procedures. This process creates an unconscionable risk of wrongly deporting people, tearing families apart, and placing immigrants back in life-threatening circumstances they have tried to escape.