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Bias & Discrimination

Extending the Promise of Gideon: Immigration, Deportation, and the Right to Counsel

Long before Gideon, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that deportation may deprive an immigrant of “all that makes life worth living” and that “meticulous care” is required to ensure that the “depriv[ation] of liberty . . . meet the essential standards of fairness.” Bridges v. Wixon, 326 U.S. 135 (1945). Yet one of the most essential guardians of fairness—a lawyer to represent immigrants in deportation (now called “removal”) hearings against government prosecutors—is denied in nearly fifty percent of all cases, and even more often in cases involving detained immigrants.