Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are at risk of deportation and being separated from their families and communities. They are forced into an immigration system that is notoriously complex and daunting to navigate. And, unlike in criminal court, they have no right to a lawyer if they cannot afford one.
The current immigration system, founded on racism and xenophobia, runs counter to basic American principles of fairness and dignity. And even though debates about immigration are polarized, everyday people support government-funded counsel for people facing deportation. A detained person who is represented is up to 10.5 times more likely to succeed in their legal case than people who represent themselves against the U.S. government during a deportation proceeding. Yet thousands of immigrants are forced to defend themselves against deportation—risking permanent exile, separation from families and communities, and even death—simply because they cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Immigrants are an integral part of the fabric of our nation who make enormous contributions to our communities, culture, and economy. We are all safer when we keep families together. Vera is working toward a system that welcomes people with dignity, affords everyone the right to a lawyer, and keeps families and communities together.