Of all the immigrants facing deportation, less than 40% have legal representation.

This is a problem. For example, in the United States, anyone who is facing a criminal charge, has a right to a lawyer, regardless of his or her immigration status. However, undocumented immigrant cases are not considered criminal charges, therefore, their cases don’t qualify for representation from an attorney.

For this reason, The Vera Institute of Justice began the SAFE Cities Network. The Vera Institute is a non-profit dedicated to improving the justice systems that ensure fairness. The SAFE Cities Network is currently composed of 11 cities that will provide public defense to immigrants facing deportation. Two of those cities are Texas communities: Austin and San Antonio.

A study done in New York called New York Immigrant Family Unity Project revealed that the success rate of cases without legal representation was less than 4%.


A study done in New York called New York Immigrant Family Unity Project revealed that the success rate of cases without legal representation was less than 4%. Those with legal representation had a success rate of nearly 40%. The SAFE Cities Network aims to create more justified outcomes in the cases of immigrants facing deportation.

“Immigration is part of our nation’s past, present, and future, and our communities will find more opportunities to grow and thrive when we recognize and embrace this fact. That means that all residents must see their justice systems—from our law enforcement to our courts—as delivering on our country’s promise of fairness,” said Nicholas Turner, president of the Vera Institute of Justice. “Common sense immigration policies like those embodied by the SAFE Cities Network ensure that all people, regardless of background, income, and history, are guaranteed a fair day in court. Not only does such public funding for indigent immigrants facing deportation maintain trust within our communities, it ultimately increases public safety and keeps deserving families together.”

This type of project is valuable for cities like San Antonio and Austin because of the current SB 4 Law.

The SB4 is a Texas law that forces local governments and law enforcement agencies to do the work of federal immigration officers. This law has targeted “sanctuary cities”. SB4 will punish law enforcement for not enforcing the controversial law, that will undoubtedly cause an increase in deportations of immigrants. The SAFE Cities Network Project is a proactive approach that fights deportations by providing a resource of legal services to immigrants. 

females holding flags

Photo Credit: Drew Anthony Smith/ Getty Images

The complete list of cities is for The SAFE Cities Network includes:

  • Atlanta GA
  • Austin TX
  • Baltimore MD
  • Chicago IL
  • Columbus OH
  • Dane County WI
  • Oakland/Alameda County CA
  • Prince George’s County MD
  • Sacramento CA
  • San Antonio TX
  • Santa Ana CA

To read the entire press release from VERA.org click on this link. https://www.vera.org/newsroom/press-releases/safe-cities-network-launches-11-communities-united-to-provide-public-defense-to-immigrants-facing-deportation

The Lozano Law Firm provides a wide variety of Immigration legal services including deportation services.