Spotlight

SAFE Network

Successes at One Year and Expanding the Movement for Universal Representation

At a time when harsh immigration policies are disrupting our communities, separating families, and increasing detention and deportation, the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network reflects on its successes at its one-year anniversary. The SAFE Network is a diverse group of a dozen cities and counties across America dedicated to providing publicly-funded representation for people facing deportation.

For too long, most immigrants facing the terrifying prospect of deportation from their homes, loved ones, communities, and families have had no access to legal counsel and have found themselves navigating the complexities of immigration law alone. The SAFE Network aims to change that imbalance and ensure due process for all immigrants. Much like a public defense model in criminal cases, the universal representation model advanced by the SAFE Network means that everyone at risk of deportation should have access to due process and a fair day in court even if they cannot afford an attorney. In its first year, SAFE Network attorneys made a difference in the lives of their clients and related families and communities: in year one, a remarkable 38 percent of cases represented by SAFE attorneys and completed in immigration court resulted in successful outcomes, permitting SAFE clients to remain in the United States. By comparison, only approximately 3 percent of unrepresented cases nationwide are successful.

This collection of publications and other resources highlights the successes of the program’s first year, shares related facts and figures, and explains how new jurisdictions can join the SAFE Network in year two.

Annie Chen, program director of the SAFE Network, explains the need for representation in immigration court.
Want your Jurisdiction to be SAFE? This Request for Letters of Interest outlines the requirements for applying to join the SAFE Network as the program expands in its second year. Local city, county, and state governments and legal service providers across the country are encouraged to apply. Please join us on Friday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m. EST for a webinar about joining the network.
The SAFE Network has represented hundreds of clients with deep roots in the United States. Drawing on data and client case studies, the findings from year one demonstrate the program’s success and describe the radiating impacts of detention and deportation on individuals, families, and communities.

Why Does Representation Matter?

The Impact of Legal Representation in Immigration Court

Representation before any court of law is a matter of fundamental fairness. However, immigrants facing deportation are entitled to representation paid for by the government only in extremely limited circumstances, despite the high stakes involved in these proceedings. A growing body of research demonstrates the need for representation and its signi...

Publication
  • Nina Siulc, Karen Berberich
November 14, 2018
Publication
Immigrants facing deportation are entitled to representation paid for by the government only in extremely limited circumstances, despite the high stakes involved in these proceedings. A growing body of research demonstrates the need for representation and its significant impact in immigration court.
The foreign-born population in the United States represents an important and diverse share of the country, many of whom have strong ties to their local communities. Data gathered from multiple sources help to paint a picture of immigrants in the United States.