San Diego County Approves Plan to Provide Immigrants With Access to Legal Representation

According to U.S. News & World Report, San Diego County has approved a plan that will provide access to legal representation to immigrants who are facing deportation from the United States. In this blog post, our Los Angeles immigration lawyers discuss the new plan from San Diego County and explain why lack of legal representation for low-income immigrants is such a serious problem.

You Have the Right to an Attorney (But Not in a Deportation Proceeding)

You have probably heard that you have the “right to an attorney” and “if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you.” What you may not know is that the right to counsel only applies to criminal trials. Even though immigrants have a lot on the line in a deportation proceeding, they do not have the right to an attorney. If you are facing deportation, neither the federal government nor the State of California is legally required to provide you with a lawyer.

San Diego County Has Created a Local Program

By a 3 to 2 majority vote, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has approved $5 million in funding for a one-year pilot program to provide guaranteed counsel to immigrants who are facing deportation from the United States. Over the next 90 days, San Diego County will develop a more comprehensive plan for exactly how this pilot program will be implemented.

As noted by U.S. News & World Report, approximately 40 local jurisdictions across the country have put similar programs into place. Though, San Diego County is the very first border county to provide local funding for immigration lawyers for undocumented immigrants. It is a significant step and represents a big win for immigrant rights in Southern California.

Why An Attorney Matters: The Data is Clear

Did you know that the majority of people who are facing deportation lack legal representation? A study from researchers working with the American Immigration Council (AIC) found that only about 4 in 10 people in deportation hearings have a lawyer. This creates serious disparities in our immigration system.

Study after study has demonstrated that immigrants who have a lawyer by their side during their deportation hearing are more likely to obtain a more favorable outcome. While the estimates vary, researchers have found that undocumented immigrants who were facing deportation were nearly 300 percent more likely to be granted relief if they were represented by an immigration attorney.

Call Our Los Angeles Immigration Law Advocates for Immediate Help

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our California immigration lawyers are devoted to providing the highest level of client service and legal representation to people and families. With more than a decade practicing in immigration law, our firm handles the full spectrum of legal matters, including deportation cases. Give us a call now to set up a confidential initial consultation with an experienced attorney. From our LA law office, we are well-positioned to serve clients all over the region.