Network of local immigrant legal defense funds expanding

DENVER (AP) — A network of U.S. cities and counties paying for lawyers to represent immigrants facing deportation in the wake of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown is planning to expand.

During a network conference in Denver on Thursday, the Vera Institute of Justice announced it was seeking proposals from cities and counties to join its Safety and Fairness for Everyone Network.

It currently includes 12 cities and counties in eight states — California, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia and Maryland — that have created immigrant defense funds.

Unlike defendants in criminal cases, people accused of being in the country illegally face civil proceedings and aren’t required to have a lawyer.

The network says that 38 percent of those represented by lawyers in the network’s first year were able to remain in the country.

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