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January 6, 2020

Immigrants in Mass. more likely to have attorneys
By Sarah Betancourt

According to a study overseen by US Court of Appeals Judge Robert Katzmann, only 3 percent of detained immigrants prevail in their cases without an attorney; the number rises to 18 percent with an attorney. “For low-income immigrants,” Katzmann wrote in the Fordham Law Review in 2018, “having an attorney is the difference between being allowed to stay in this country and suffering catastrophic deportation.” Overall, Katzmann found, 63 percent of noncitizens in deportation proceedings nationwide do not have legal representation, while 37 percent do. In the Boston immigration court over four days in December, the numbers were just the opposite. According to information gleaned from hearing calendars, 39 percent of the 714 individuals going through the hearing process had no attorney, while 61 percent did. The actual percentage in Massachusetts may be even higher. Immigration court research gathered by Syracuse University’s TRAC Reports indicated 73 percent of the immigrants with cases pending as of February 2019 had legal representation.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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