Implementing the Vision at the Local and State Level Summary Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit for Advocates, Organizers, Legal Service Providers, and Policymakers

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Overview

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 defense programs. Although many of these programs have not yet grown to full scale, they have adopted a universal representation model—one advancing the equitable delivery of legal services and rejecting narratives that some people are more deserving than others of due process and dignity. This summary describes the best practices and lessons learned from Vera’s experience—and the experiences of partners and national leaders implementing programs funded locally or at the state level that have adopted this universal model. This fact sheet provides a summary of insights included in the third module of Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit for Advocates, Organizers, Legal Service Providers, and Policymakers.

Key Takeaway

The implementation universal representation—a public defender system for all immigrants facing deportation—is a significant step toward advancing the equitable delivery of legal services and rejecting narratives that some people are more deserving than others of due process and dignity.

Publication Highlights

  • While a growing movement works toward a legally mandated and federally funded representation system, several counties, cities, and states have already stepped up to fund deportation defense programs.

  • Universal representation holds the government to its burden: providing due process, dignity, and the fullest defense ethically possible to all.

  • Government funding at the local, state, and federal levels would ensure that universal representation programs remain financially sustainable.