Defend Everyone: Creating the Equity Corps of Oregon to Provide Universal Representation
Last month, the Innovation Law Lab, in partnership with other members of Oregon Ready, published and presented a report entitled “Defend Everyone: Creating the Equity Corps of Oregon to Provide Universal Representation.”
The report calls on government bodies in Oregon to provide legal defense funding for community members in removal defense proceedings. The concept that no individual should face possible deportation without a lawyer is often referred to as “universal representation.”
Furthermore, the report recommends adopting an innovative approach to truly achieving a state of universal representation. The model proposed draws on the power of technology and collaboration for scalability and effectiveness. A visual can be found on page 18.
Legal representation is the single most predictive factor in whether an immigrant will prevail against an unjust deportation. With an attorney, immigrants will fare better at every stage of the court process. However, as immigration law is considered a civil matter, defendants are not entitled to a government-provided lawyer.
The federal government has activated the machinery of mass detention and deportation–ICE arrests are up in virtually every part of the country, and Jeff Sessions’ has proposed changes that would pressure judges to seek deportation over options for relief. State and local government are in a unique position, in which they can support policy and programs that stop the deportation of immigrant communities of color.
The report was authored by Stephen W. Manning, Executive Director of the Innovation Law Lab; Leland Baxter-Neal, Immigration Attorney at Metropolitan Public Defenders; Lindsay Jonasson, Student at Lewis & Clark Law School; Juliet Stumpf, Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School; and Victoria Bejarano Muirhead, Development Director at the Innovation Law Lab.
The Universal Representation Committee of Oregon Ready is comprised of individuals from Causa, Catholic Charities of Oregon’s Immigration Legal Services, Immigrant Defense Oregon of Metropolitan Public Defenders, Immigration Counseling Service, Innovation Law Lab, Transformative Immigration Law Class at Lewis & Clark Law School, and Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
Please direct any questions to Victoria Bejarano Muirhead at firstname.lastname@example.org.