As the federal government continues to increase the number of arrests Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents make in New Jersey and throughout the nation, discussions on the topic also continue, especially concerning the immigration removal system, which many people agree is in great need of reform. When a U.S. citizen is facing criminal charges, he or she is given the opportunity to retain legal support. If the person cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint one on his or her behalf.
Immigrant advocates have long been decrying the fact that the system does not provide the same assistance to people who entered the United States from other countries of origin and are ordered to attend removal hearings. Those who are able to secure representation before heading to court are reportedly far more likely to avoid deportation. In fact, most of those who get deported are people who did not have an experienced immigration attorney representing them in court.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says there is a way to provide support to immigrants in need of legal assistance at removal hearings when they are unable to hire attorneys. The governor proposed allocating more than $2 million of the state’s budget to provide funds for low-income immigrants who need legal assistance. Not everyone supports the governor’s idea, however; some say taxpayer money should not be used to hire attorneys for people who cross U.S. borders without proper documentation.
Those who support the governor’s plan say the funding he proposes would be a very small percentage of monies needed to provide legal assistance to New Jersey immigrants. Since 2017, there has been a 42 percent increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests in this state. Regardless of whether the governor’s budget plan is voted in, those facing immigration problems will be glad to know there are already support networks in place to help them try to avoid removal or rectify other legal status issues.