Putting TRAC to Work
  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Vera Institute of Justice
November 2018

Why Does Representation Matter? The Impact of Legal Representation in Immigration Court
By Karen Berberich and Nina Siulc

The U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment established the right to counsel as an essential American value, deemed by the Supreme Court as “necessary to insure fundamental human rights of life and liberty.” However, the right to appointed counsel has only been applied in criminal proceedings. Deportation cases are civil proceedings. Despite the high stakes involved in removal proceedings—including permanent separation from loved ones and, sometimes, life-threatening risks in their countries of origin immigrants are entitled to representation paid for by the government only in extremely limited circumstances. This means that while everyone is permitted to have a lawyer, only those able to secure an attorney are represented in court. Over the past several years, almost half of all immigration court cases have gone unrepresented.......[Citing TRAC research].

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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