State lawmakers in both legislative chambers have proposed measures that would create a task force to investigate the feasibility of providing legal representation to Illinois immigrants facing deportation.
If approved, the task force will spend a year exploring the details of providing such services and how much they would cost. The task force would provide recommendations by July 2022.
The country’s civil immigration system does not provide court-appointed counsel to immigrants facing removal. In Illinois, 43% of the immigrants facing deportation don’t have a lawyer, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a group at Syracuse University.
“Immigration proceedings are civil in nature. Removal proceedings present exceedingly high stakes: the potential loss of homes and livelihood; permanent separation from U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident family members; banishment of a family’s sole breadwinner or even persecution, torture or death,” said State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview), who introduced the bill in the Illinois House of Representatives to create the task force.
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