Defending The Most Vulnerable In Court
National Qualified Representative program
ImmDef’s National Qualified Representative Program represents immigrants in ICE detention who are entitled to court-appointed counsel because of serious mental disorders that render them unable to represent themselves. This model of court-appointed counsel in immigration court is possible thanks to Franco-Gonzalez v. Holder, a class action lawsuit and settlement. This settlement was the first time any U.S. court ruled that a group of immigrants is entitled to government-funded legal representation.
Providing Access to The Most Vulnerable People in Detention
Adults with mental health issues are among the most vulnerable immigrants because they often cannot understand, let alone defend themselves in, their deportation hearings. Many individuals have been subjected to abuse and torture in their home countries because of their mental disabilities.
Our team zealously advocates on behalf of our clients while they are imprisoned in remote federal facilities. We continue to represent them once they are released to their families or guardians in their local communities. Pictured right, ImmDef’s longest detained client, JRGP, was released from immigration custody after being detained for nearly 7 years.
Due to the complex legal issues which often come up in the representation of people with mental health issues, it is notable that ImmDef has on staff practitioners with significant expertise in the cross-section between immigration, criminal law, mental health, policy and appellate practice, and case management. We provide zealous representation of our clients throughout each stage of their case, including representing them on appeal Lopez-Marroquin v. Garland (9th Cir. Aug 18, 2021).
ImmDef uses a universal representation model and will represent any NQRP client that qualifies for our services on a merits-blind basis. We will never turn a case away based on the existence of complicating factors or a low likelihood of success. Our goal is to represent as many NQRP clients as we can to free them all.
ImmDef's NQRP team stays in communication with the client’s relatives and/or friends who can support the client with following up with their treatment services. ImmDef employs a full-time case management associate tasked with linking our clients to social services resources and providing triage in times of crisis. Our case management associate is responsible for maintaining relationships with community-based providers, putting together release plans, and connecting our non-detained clients with services. The case management associate also follows up with the relatives and the community-based services when necessary. Finally, for our clients who lack family support and who are transient, we have allowed an open-door, drop-in policy, which has allowed us to maintain constant contact with the client and ensure that they are getting the services they need.