In our last blog post, we discussed defense options and strategies for immigrants facing deportation or removal. Since then, an Illinois House Bill addressing immigration has passed in the state Senate and is awaiting review by Governor Pritzker. If the bill is ultimately approved, it could provide additional support to those facing immigration court proceedings in Cook County.
The recently passed HB 2790 would update a section of the Illinois Counties Code that addresses the types of cases in which public defenders are able to represent defendants at no cost. Currently, Illinois public defender services are limited to cases in criminal and juvenile court. HB 2790 would expand their services to immigration court cases, including those involving deportation and removal, but only “in counties with a population over 3,000,000”. Based on the most recent census data, this only applies to Cook County, with DuPage County being the next closest at only 929,060.
Despite the limitations of the bill, it would still represent a substantial change to Illinois immigration policy. Before now, the lack of access to public defender services has led many low-income immigrants to go without representation at their removal hearings. Taking advantage of state-provided, no-cost representation could help many immigrants remain in the U.S.
Even if the bill is approved, immigrants who live outside of Cook County should note that if they are detained or summoned to appear in immigration court, they still do not have the right to a public defender for their case. This makes hiring an immigration lawyer especially important. As we mentioned in our previous post, an attorney can help you protect your rights and understand all possible options for avoiding deportation, including dismissing or canceling the proceedings or pursuing asylum or adjustment of status.
Even if your case is being heard in the Chicago Immigration Court in Cook County, hiring your own attorney offers many potential benefits when compared to relying on public defender services. For example, state funding for public immigration attorneys is likely to be limited, meaning that a public defender may not be available for every immigrant who needs one. Your personal attorney may have access to greater resources than a public defender and may also have more time to dedicate to your case.
At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, we understand the importance of access to legal representation for all immigrants facing deportation. If you need an experienced attorney for your case, we can represent you and help you defend your rights. For a free initial consultation with an Illinois immigration attorney, contact us today at 630-932-9100.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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