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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 9, 2021

Georgia among worst states for legal representation for immigrants, report finds
By Lautaro Grinspan

Immigrants facing deportation are less likely to have access to a lawyer in Georgia than in nearly every other state. That’s the takeaway from a recent report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University. According to the immigration court data compiled by TRAC, there were more than 40,400 pending deportation cases in Georgia at the end of May 2021, but only around 15,500 of them had attorney representation. That means the odds of being represented in high-stakes deportation cases stand at around 39%. Only four other states registered lower rates of representation, with three of them — North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama — also in the Southeast. None of the states with lower rates of representation than Georgia have a bigger backlog of deportation cases: the Peach State ranks 8th nationwide for total pending deportation cases. Georgia immigrants’ slim odds of representation is, in part, caused by the state’s more widespread use of immigrant detention. According to a 2016 report from the American Immigration Council, immigrants in detention were the least likely to acquire counsel, with a representation rate of only 14% (compared with around 65% for non- detained immigrants). As of July 22, Georgia was home to the fourth largest population of ICE detainees in the country, per data compiled by TRAC.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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