A study has found a large spike in the number of immigrants who have legal representation, several months after officials in Chicago set up a $1.3 million fund offering legal services to those facing deportation from the US.
There has been a 30 percent jump in the number of lawyers representing immigrants at deportation hearings between May (30 percent) and August (57 percent). This is according to a study conducted by Syracuse University, and cited by the Chicago Tribune. More than 1500 residents of the Windy City have received free legal screenings, with legal representation in court given to immigrants in as many as 766 cases.
Chicago was one of the many cities throughout the US that decided to beef-up the legal services offered to immigrants in response to the crackdown on illegal immigration ordered by President Donald Trump. Chicago approved the fund back in December 2016, before Trump took office in January 2017. Immigrant advocates say that legal representation is vital as there is no guarantee of a lawyer for immigrants in court. Last year, a report from the American Immigration Council suggested that only 37 percent of people faced with deportation proceedings are able to gain legal help.
The Chicago fund is intended to assist with helping legal representation, education, and legal screenings. It is given to non-profit organizations, such as the National Immigrant Justice Center, based in the city.