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07/1/2019 | Protecting Immigrant Communities, Immigrant Rights - Creating Deportation Defense

CASA Helps Pass Universal Representation for Immigrants in Fairfax County

On May 7, Fairfax County made history by becoming the first jurisdiction in Virginia to provide legal representation to immigrants facing deportation proceedings. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to fund a $200,000 universal representation pilot program, which will benefit immigrants in the county—including lawful permanent residents, DACA recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders—who are currently facing deportation proceedings and who cannot afford an immigration lawyer.

This is critical because unlike in the criminal justice system, immigrants facing deportation have no right to a public defender in immigration court.

“With the passage of universal representation, CASA and our community are proud that Fairfax County has taken a step forward in terms of equity by ensuring that immigrants are treated with dignity by providing legal representation. We will continue advancing immigrant rights as one community,” said Luis Aguilar, CASA Virginia Director.

For years, CPD has supported CASA's work on this issue through policy and legal support, organizing support, and strategic research including "Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit" released last year. Representation protects due process by allowing immigrants to access their rights under U.S. law. The decision is invaluable for the more than 175 Fairfax families facing immigration proceedings each year. After this important victory, CASA will focus efforts on ensuring that more jurisdictions in the state of Virginia approve similar programs.

With almost 100,000 members across the states of Maryland, Virginia, and South Central Pennsylvania, CASA is the largest member-based Latino and immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region. CASA organizes with and litigates on behalf of low-wage immigrants. Learn more about CASA here.