The National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) provides appointed legal representation for immigrants who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), unrepresented by counsel, and who have been found by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to be incompetent to represent themselves in their immigration proceedings because of a serious mental disorder.

Immigrants represented under the NQRP are people with serious mental or developmental disabilities and have often suffered persecution and torture in their home countries because of their mental disabilities. The NQRP affords a meaningful opportunity to be heard by shifting the burden of representation from the immigrants themselves to highly-qualified attorneys and BIA Accredited Representatives to help ensure fair and efficient removal proceedings.

Project Objectives

  • To ensure that detained immigrants with mental health conditions have a fair chance to defend themselves in immigration proceedings.

  • To help ensure that immigrants with mental health conditions are not subjected to unconstitutional and expensive prolonged detention.

  • To promote a culture of universal, zealous, person-centered representation in immigration defense.

Key Fact

From its beginning in 2013 through January 2020, the NQRP has provided representation to over 2,000 detained immigrants with serious mental illness.

National Qualified Representative Program


Through a nationwide network of nearly 50 legal service providers, the NQRP provides zealous, person-centered representation to its clients at any Immigration Court in the country. The map to the right shows states in which NQRP providers are physically located.

Click on a state to view NQRP the names and websites of NQRP providers.