Are Immigration Lawyers Helpful?
In immigration court, having an attorney matters. Legal representation often makes the difference between whether someone is allowed to remain safely in the United States, or is deported to harm, permanently separated from family.
Even though having an immigration lawyer can greatly influence the result of a court case, individuals facing deportation are not guaranteed a government-funded attorney to represent them — unlike in criminal court. Without the constitutional protections of the sixth amendment, individuals face a major decision: whether it is worth hiring an immigration attorney or going through the court process alone.
According to the first national study of access to counsel in U.S. immigration courts and the American Immigration Council, access to counsel is scarce and unevenly distributed across the United States. With this:
- Only 37 percent of all immigrants in the nation secured legal representation in their removal cases.
- Immigrants in detention were the least likely to obtain representation.
- Only 14 percent of detained immigrants acquired legal counsel, compared with two-thirds of non-detained immigrants.
While there are some barriers typically associated with obtaining legal assistance in a civil case, immigrants with immigration attorneys fare better at every stage of the court process compared to those who do not seek legal aid. According to the study, individuals with counsel:
- Are five times more likely to pursue relief
- Are nearly five times more likely to win their cases
- Detained immigrants are 11 times more likely to pursue relief
- Detained immigrants are twice as likely to obtain relief
While having legal counsel ensures that immigrants will receive meaningful hearings, it also makes the process of immigration proceedings much more efficient. Legal representation offers the benefit of a timely trial, with the advantage of using every legal resource possible to ensure that one's case is heard and considered.
We credit our very own law clerk, Daniel Harbison, for authoring this blog piece and hope that this information provides some insight regarding the importance of hiring an immigration attorney. If you would like to learn more about what an immigration attorney can do for you, please feel free to text The Scott Law Firm at (225) 400-9976.