According to the Immigration Court Practice Manual, the government has no duty to provide a lawyer to anyone in removal proceedings. The government will provide someone in removal proceedings a list of pro-bono legal providers or non-profits that they can contact to ask for representation, but the government will not provide counsel for anyone facing deportation. Also, some state bar associations have sub-committees or sub-sections that offer free legal assistance to those in immigration proceedings.
Many people are confused by this because, in the criminal context, you have a right to be represented by a lawyer. This means the government will pay for a lawyer to represent you against any charges that the government is accusing you of. If you have ever been arrested, part of the soliloquy that the officer says to you, known as a Miranda warning, includes the phrase, “you have the right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.” The right to counsel in immigration proceedings is confirmed in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution and has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court on numerous occasions in the criminal context, but never in the context of removal proceedings.
In a study by the American Immigration Council, only 37 percent of all aliens had legal counsel in removal proceedings. This same study also confirmed that detained immigrants who had a lawyer in bond proceedings were four times as likely to be released from detention as those without counsel. The importance of having a lawyer in removal proceedings cannot be overstated because the process is confusing and can feel chaotic.
At Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. Immigration Team, our attorneys have appeared in immigration courts across the nation on behalf of people from all walks of life. If your loved one is in removal proceedings and you would like to increase their odds of success by hiring counsel, please give Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. Immigration Team a call at 601-927-8430 or 601-948-8005 or by using our live chat. The government will not appoint a lawyer for you, so it is imperative that you decide to find competent counsel to help navigate removal proceedings.