Building Justice: Increasing Quality Immigration Representation in NJ (Jan 25)
Friday, January 25, 2013, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Registration and coffee at 8:30 am
Rutgers School of Law-Newark
Many immigrants in removal proceedings face the harsh prospect of being deported from the United States because they cannot afford competent attorneys. Nationally, only half of immigrants are represented, though for detained immigrants, a mere 16% have representation. The total number of detention beds in New Jersey is now around 2,350 — a 47% increase over 2011 — which means thousands of immigrants are detained every year in New Jersey.
While government-funded counsel is routine in the criminal justice system, the U.S. government does not generally fund legal representation in immigration proceedings. How can this gap in legal representation be addressed? What steps can be taken to increase the capacity of legal service providers, to promote pro bono representation, to expand legal orientation and legal representation programs, to educate the public and government officials about these challenges, and to ensure that immigrants are not victimized by unscrupulous legal advice?
This dialogue aims to identify concrete steps that can be taken to address the need for increased, quality immigration representation in New Jersey, and to bring stakeholders together to chart out some next steps for collaborative action.