Policing and Immigrants

In the majority of U.S. states, the number of foreign-born residents increased by 30 percent or more over last decade, with many of these new arrivals settling in suburban areas once virtually untouched by immigration. Local police agencies are challenged to serve sometimes-vulnerable residents whose culture and language don’t match those of their line officers. Meeting obligations related to homeland security adds yet another layer of complexity.

To address these challenges, we pioneered the growing field of language access and led the way in building bridges between police and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities. We’ve also trained police in using the U-visa, a safety net for immigrant crime victims that cooperate with police, and published guidebooks written by police, for police in how to build trusting relationships with diverse communities.

Related Work

Implementing the Vision at the Local and State Level Summary

Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit for Advocates, Organizers, Legal Service Providers, and Policymakers

Universal representation—a public defender system for all immigrants facing deportation—is based on the fundamental belief that everyone deserves due process under the law. While a growing movement works toward a legally mandated and federally funded representation system, several counties, cities, and states have stepped up to fund deportation def ...

Publication
April 13, 2021
Publication

One Year Later, We Still Don’t Know How Many People in ICE Detention Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

Despite Vera’s efforts to track what ICE reports on COVID-19 in detention, the agency’s limited reporting remains insufficient for understanding the scope of this crisis and its implications for the treatment of people subject to detention in the future. Critical information—such as the total number of people at risk within facilities, who have bee ...

Blog Post
  • Noelle Smart
    Noelle Smart
  • Adam Garcia
    Adam Garcia
April 08, 2021
Blog Post

Immigration Courts Are Acting Like Business as Usual During the Pandemic, with Dire Consequences

Protecting the rights of immigrants facing deportation has always been challenging. But the pandemic has made it harder to communicate with clients, coordinate witnesses, and obtain evidence. Immigration courts and detention facilities have failed to provide adequate technology, time, and support to ensure due process. “They've seen it as business ...

Blog Post
  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
March 03, 2021
Blog Post

Immigrants Facing Deportation Do Not Have the Right to a Publicly Funded Attorney. Here's How to Change That.

Who would benefit from these legal defense services? Immigrants who are facing deportation but can’t afford an attorney would benefit from these legal defense services. Of the more than 1.25 million people with pending cases in the immigration court system, 500,000 lack representation. The lack of representation is particularly staggering for peopl ...

Blog Post
  • Erica Bryant
    Erica Bryant
February 09, 2021
Blog Post

A Federal Defender Service for Immigrants

Why We Need a Universal, Zealous, and Person-Centered Model

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) recommends that the Biden administration draw from time-tested models, data, and knowledge to build a federally funded, universal legal defense service that provides universal, zealous, and person-centered defense to all immigrants. This federal defender service should be modeled on the criminal federal defender ...

Publication
  • Vera Institute of Justice
February 09, 2021
Publication