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Law 360
August 15, 2017

Odds Of Getting Immigration Atty Varies By Location: Report
By Kyle Jahner

The Transactional Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University calculated the odds of an immigrant having legal counsel at an immigration proceeding, which is not a guaranteed right as it is in criminal cases. In ranking states as well as individual U.S. cities, the study showed odds of obtaining counsel can often more than double even while staying within a state. "Attorney availability and especially those who specialize in immigration matters varies widely by location," the report, dated Aug. 7, said. "Few dispute the importance of having an attorney to effectively argue one's case. Representation can also lead to a number of efficiencies in the handling of court proceedings." TRAC, a data research center affiliated with the university's communications and management schools, assembled the lists from court records obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request. It sought to determine how often an immigrant arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had access to legal advice amid a process through in which roughly half are reported. TRAC Director Susan Long, an associate professor of managerial statistics at Syracuse, told Law360 they intended to continue to dive further into the brand-new data. She was struck by the variability, which she said undercut arguments that have been made in courtrooms by the government that lawyers snap up the "good clients with a good chance at prevailing." "There are new efforts emerging at city level to try to provide funding for representation," Long said. "This kind of information will help in efforts to provide representation and to monitor how successful those efforts are."

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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