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Study: New York City immigration attorneys make a huge difference

As school kids, Americans are taught that everyone has the right to an attorney. That means if a person cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed. It is not widely known, however, that immigrants who are detained in our court system have no right to counsel, meaning that are no public defenders for them.

A recent news article points out that only 37 percent of those facing a deportation hearing have an attorney. And according to a recent study, of those in immigration detention, just 14 percent have a lawyer. The good news is that with legal representation, fewer deportation orders are being issued here in New York City.

That is according to a report by Public Radio International, which points out that in 2012, just over 1,200 immigrants were ordered to be removed from the U.S. at the immigration court in Manhattan. This year, the figure has dropped to 535.

Part of the credit goes to the New York Immigrant Family Unit Program that is helping to make access possible to an immigration attorney.

A 2010 study highlighted the problem: only 3 percent of those who enter the immigration detention system without an attorney win a reprieve from detention. Those detained immigrants who do have a lawyer are 500 percent more likely to prevail than those who do not have legal representation.

Those numbers are simply astounding to people unfamiliar with the system, and perhaps less surprising to those who deal with immigration detention defense on a regular basis.

Those who have received notice that they face deportation, and those who are being detained as part of deportation proceedings can speak with a qualified Staten Island immigration attorney experienced in protecting clients' rights and freedom and fighting to win resident status.

You can contact the Law Offices of Stephen Santucci, PC, to learn about your legal options.

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