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Promoting the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees is one of the social justice priorities of our congregation. We support many ministries that directly aid migrants, and we also advocate for policies that protect them.
The importance of legal representation in U.S. immigration courts
The United States’ immigration laws are complex and confusing, and the consequences of deportation are life-changing for individuals and families. Legal representation is the biggest factor in ensuring people facing removal have a fair day in immigration court. People represented by counsel are five times more likely to obtain legal relief compared to those who are unrepresented. Allowing greater access to legal counsel helps the court system operate more efficiently and effectively as it continues to face immense backlogs.
Studies of immigration court data over the past decade have found that people represented by counsel appear in court over 96% of the time. Additionally, legal representation avoids delays in court and saves time that judges typically spend explaining procedures to unrepresented people.
Today’s call to action
Today, we are advocating for members of the House of Representatives to sign on to a letter organized by Congresswoman Norma Torres encouraging the House Committee on Appropriation and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to ensure that the $50,000 million appropriation remains in the proposed budget for next year. Recently, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet joined 148 other advocacy organizations in support of providing appropriations for funding for legal representation for migrants at their court hearings.
Please take a moment to use our tool below to send a letter to your U.S. Representative and ask them to sign on to the letter.