As the Trump administration carries on with its crackdown on illegal immigration, detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants by the thousands, one report shows that Texas immigrants are not only most likely to be deported, they are also the least likely to go through the deportation proceedings with the help of a legal professional.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an independent and nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University, released a report showing that between October 2000 and February 2018 in Texas, only 213,197 out of 733,125 immigrants—less than 30 percent—went through their deportation proceedings with adequate legal representation. Texas trails behind only Louisiana and Arizona in this respect.
Furthermore, 68 percent of Texas deportation cases in the study’s sample resulted in a removal (i.e. deportation) order. In New York, on the other hand, 74 percent of immigrant defendants were represented by an attorney, leading to only 27% of cases ending with a removal order.
Most immigration violations involve civil offenses, denying undocumented immigrants the right to an attorney. This includes immigrants who came to the country seeking asylum.
Immigrant rights advocacy groups argue a correlation between the lack of representation and a defendant’s chances of facing deportation. They point out that amid the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration directives, this has likely led to the removal of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants are in a particularly tough position, as many are unable to afford private legal services, forcing them to tough it out on their own.
Another TRAC study in 2016 shows that over 80 percent of minors who entered the country illegally between 2012 and 2014 and were not represented in court were deported.
These figures are predicted to soar even higher as last Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that it would be terminating the Legal Orientation Program, which informs immigrants about the immigration court system and helped secure pro bono legal services.
The program’s core feature is legal education, allowing detained immigrants to have vital information on how the complex deportation process works, which is ultimately better than not having a lawyer at all. Moreover, the program serves as an important training ground for aspiring immigration attorneys.
Although many Texas attorneys have stated that they would be willing to do more pro bono work, most of them are discouraged by the amount of time and effort immigration cases require.
If you, or a loved one, need any kind of assistance on your immigration case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.