Expand Your Immigration Practice, Learn Deportation Defense
One man's crisis is another man's opportunity.
It's a harsh saying, but better than "one man's trash is another man's treasure" when it comes to immigration practice. At a time when America no longer raises a lamp to the wretched refuse, immigration lawyers have a greater opportunity to change lives.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has launched an initiative to combat the Trump administration's policies against immigrants. It is an opportunity for attorneys to engage and learn deportation defense.
"The initiative will support a corps of attorneys mobilized to defend immigrants by training new volunteer lawyers from all fields, facilitating new pro bono representation opportunities, and employing innovative mentorship strategies to leverage the expertise of the immigration bar," announced the American Immigration Council, which is co-sponsoring the program.
The "Immigration Justice Campaign" will focus on detained deportation defense. The sponsors hope to infuse large numbers of lawyers into the deportation system to "significantly change the way the government can and will conduct immigration enforcement."
The organization has set up a "rapid-response website" for attorneys to join the campaign as a volunteer or mentor. Registrants will receive updates, training and opportunities to help defend immigrants.
According to Justice Department figures, nearly 40 percent of immigrants facing deportation do not have legal assistance. They cannot afford it or they don't know how to get help.
Because immigration cases are not criminal proceedings, indigents have no right to appointed counsel. And with the Trump Administration stepping up deportation, it is a tough time to be an immigrant in the United States.
"The government brings up everything it can," said Raha Jorjani, an Alameda County public defender. "It's an absolutely bewildering process. We're talking about some of the most complicated laws in the nation."
Like Alameda County, New York City is one of a handful of local governments that provide public defenders in deportation hearings. San Francisco recently launched a similar program. Cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Austin, have devoted funds to help the immigrants.
The Immigration Justice Campaign will train lawyers in deportation defense throughout the country.
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