If you are familiar with United States law, or with many of the most popular American procedural TV dramas, you may be aware of the fact that you have a right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, an attorney will be provided to you. These rights are granted under the Sixth Amendment to United States Constitution. However, many people do not realize that the state will only provide defendants with an attorney in criminal cases. An immigration offense is a civil violation.
Court Appointed Lawyers are Not Provided in Immigration Cases
Unfortunately, under current legal interpretations, people are generally not entitled to a court-appointed attorney if they are in immigration court. This is true even if they are facing a serious issue, such as a deportation. As a result, many immigrants are not represented by professional legal counsel in these types of cases. Researchers at the American Immigration Council (AIC) reviewed comprehensive immigration court data from 2007 through 2012, more than 1.2 million cases in total. The findings were disturbing: less than 40 percent of immigrants were represented by an attorney during their removal proceedings.
Immigrants Who Lack Legal Representation are Severely Disadvantaged
Removal proceedings are deeply complex. For immigrants who lack legal counsel, and who also may be facing a language barrier, going up against the trained legal professionals who are representing the government can be daunting. Without a skilled Los Angeles immigration lawyer by their side, many immigrants are unable to access the full range of available options.
The Benefit of Hiring an Immigration Attorney
No one should go through an important immigration proceeding without a qualified attorney by their side. There is overwhelming evidence that indicates that immigrants who are represented by lawyers simply fare far better than those who are not able to obtain legal counsel. Analyzing federal government data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), researchers at the American Immigration Council found that:
- Detained immigrants were four times more likely to be released from ICE custody if they were represented by an attorney; and
- Immigrants facing removal were three times more likely to get relief from deportation if they were represented by an attorney.
The bottom line is clear: legal representation provides immigrants will clear benefits. As an overall policy matter, our society needs to do more to expand access to legal help so that all immigrants are able to work with an attorney. As an individual matter, if you or a loved one is facing deportation, it is crucial that you consult with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Our Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our visa lawyers are committed to protecting immigrant rights. If you or a loved one is facing deportation, please contact our law firm today at (213) 262-2000 to get immediate immigration help. With an office in the heart of Los Angeles, we represent clients throughout Southern California.