Respondents in immigration court removal proceedings face detention, deportation, and in many cases, permanent expulsion from the United States with no access to government-funded legal representation. Many cannot afford an attorney, leaving them unrepresented or vulnerable to unscrupulous and unauthorized individuals who exploit language barriers and exact exorbitant fees in exchange for providing incompetent and insufficient assistance. Immigrants of color are at particularly high risk of detention and deportation because of the enmeshed nature of the criminal and immigration legal systems and significant racial disparities that pervade both. With longstanding and persistent federal immigration enforcement that destabilizes New York’s families, communities, and economy, efforts to provide high quality immigration representation and assistance are necessary to promote due process, family unity, and stability for immigrants and all New Yorkers.
The mission of the Committee on Immigration Representation is to improve the quality and availability of legal representation in immigration court removal cases, including expanding access to universal representation for all at risk of deportation regardless of the perceived merits of their immigration case or prior contact with the criminal legal system, and to address the barriers in the immigration system and intersecting legal systems impacting access to justice for immigrants. The Committee will engage practitioners and other experts to administer and/or promote attorney training and CLEs, pro bono opportunities, policy measures, and education and awareness, in collaboration with NYSBA leadership and staff to move forward the Association’s goals of ensuring access to justice for all by focusing specifically on challenges faced by Immigrant communities.
REVISED February 1, 2022
Approved by the House of Delegates on October 30, 2021
Approved by the House of Delegates on June 15, 2019
Resources and Links to Pro Bono Opportunities