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Findings from New Jersey’s Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative Year 1

New Jersey Coalition for Immigrant Representation


Key Findings

This report describes the DDDI’s first year, between November 2018 and October 2019. The findings presented below are largely based on a close analysis of 200 cases opened and concluded in 2019 by attorneys from three out of the four state-funded legal services providers: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and legal clinics at Seton Hall University and Rutgers University. In some cases, data was only available from a smaller number of providers. Figures drawn from this subset of data are indicated in the footnotes.

While preliminary, 2019 concluded case data suggests that the DDDI has already impacted representation rates and the success of individual cases, leveling the playing field for people facing deportation and ensuring that families are able to stay together across New Jersey.

  • Publicly-funded representation expands access to due process for detained immigrants: DDDI attorneys conducted interviews with 1,532 detainees and opened 857 new cases in New Jersey in the first year of the program’s operation, providing the following services: consultations, advocacy and full representation in immigration court.
  • Representation strengthens public health and safety for New Jersey residents as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic: More than half (52 percent) of immigrants who were represented by a DDDI attorney were released from detention. In comparison, only 17.6 percent of all immigrants facing deportation without representation in New Jersey were released from detention.
  • Representation supports family unity: Many individuals represented by DDDI are parents with spouses and children who live in the United States.
  • Representation results in above national average success in releases on bond: 60 percent of individuals represented by DDDI attorneys who were eligible for and received bond hearings were subsequently released on bond, outpacing the national average of 48 percent released on bond.

About the New Jersey Coalition for Immigrant Representation

The New Jersey Coalition for Immigrant Representation leads the campaign to advance a fully funded universal representation program that ensures access to representation for all low-income New Jerseyans who are detained during deportation proceedings. Coalition members include:
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
American Friends Service Committee, Immigrant Rights Program
Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Office (Jersey City)
First Friends of NJ/NY
Make the Road New Jersey
New Jersey Policy Perspective
Rutgers Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic
Seton Hall Law School Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic
Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ

Special thanks to Liana Katz, PhD candidate at Rutgers University for her work preparing this report.

Read the full report.

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