Deportation Without Representation: The Access-to-Justice Crisis Facing New Jersey's Immigrant Families
Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice, 2016
39 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2016
New Jersey presents unique immigration circumstances. The American Immigration Council reports that 21% of New Jersey’s residents are immigrants, whereas immigrants comprise only 12.9% of the entire U.S. population. Approximately half of New Jersey’s immigrant population is comprised of naturalized U.S. citizens, and this group accounts for 18.8% of the state’s voters. In 2011, 29% of New Jersey’s business owners were foreign-born. In 2006, New Jersey’s immigrants contributed approximately $47 billion to the gross state product.
This report affirms that case outcomes for immigrants seeking permission to remain on U.S. soil are closely tied to the availability of legal representation, and highlights the paucity of legal resources available to meet immigrants’ needs in New Jersey.
During the time period covered in the study, approximately 66% of those detained throughout their immigration court proceedings never secured legal representation, in contrast with about 20% of those who were not detained at any point during proceedings. Immigrants with representation, detained or otherwise, were at least 3 times as likely to obtain a successful outcome as those who were not represented. For example, among those who were detained throughout and unrepresented, only 14% avoided removal, whereas detained individuals who secured representation prevailed in 49% of the cases.
The report also assesses the level of resources available to New Jersey’s immigrant population, surveying approximately one dozen nonprofit organizations that provided low- or no-cost representation to individuals in removal proceedings before the New Jersey immigration courts in 2013 and 2014.
The survey responses indicate that most of the nonprofit organizations staff between two and four attorneys, and levels of funding varied among public and private grants and donations, and indicate that New Jersey lacks sufficient salaried attorney positions to address even a small percentage of the total cases entering the courts.
The report, prepared by Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice, was published on behalf of the Working Group on Immigrant Representation in New Jersey. The Group was assembled and chaired by Judge Michael. A. Chagares of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and comprises a consortium of organizations seeking to increase access to quality free and low-cost immigration legal services in the state of New Jersey. Entities represented in the Working Group include the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review, American Friends Service Committee, Casa Esperanza, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Jersey, Kids in Need of Defense, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Human Rights First, Legal Services of New Jersey, Lowenstein Sandler, Make the Road New Jersey, Rutgers University School of Law, and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Seton Hall Law students Branca Banic ’16, Justin Condit ’15, Holly Coppens ’16, Amy Cuzzolino ’16, Jaime DeBartolo ’15, Anthony D’Elia ’16, Danielle King ’16, Victoria Leblein ’16, and Vani Parti ’15 prepared the report under the supervision of Professors Nessel and Anello.
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