National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP)
The National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) provides appointed legal representation for detained immigrants who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent to represent themselves. IJP was the first service provider in the region for this program, which launched in 2013, and we are considered the flagship organization for this work. At any given time, our organization is representing individuals, who hail from almost every continent, with serious psychological or developmental disabilities, in their removal proceedings before the San Diego, Otay Mesa, and Imperial Immigration Courts. The NQRP affords individuals—many of whom have often suffered persecution and torture in their home countries because of their mental disabilities—a meaningful opportunity to be heard by shifting the burden of representation from the immigrants themselves to highly qualified attorneys.
Legal Orientation Program (LOP)
IJP’s Legal Orientation Program (LOP) works in the Otay Mesa Detention Facility several days per week with immigrants who are unable to secure legal representation. Despite the resources available in the San Diego region a significant majority of the detained immigrant population jailed at the Otay Mesa Detention Facility continues to be unrepresented. Through LOP, our organization educates these people about their rights in removal proceedings and arms them with tools to represent themselves before the immigration court. Specifically, LOP offers group orientations on defenses against removal and conducts one-on-one meetings with program participants. IJP’s LOP also conducts weekly workshops focused on presenting asylum claims and pursuing release through bond. Annually our LOP program works with thousands of detained immigrants. Given the highly complex nature of immigration legal processes, particularly in a court setting, coupled with the fact that many detainees speak little to no English and have a limited level of education, LOP is critical for most individuals that will be appearing in court without the assistance of an attorney.
With no right to government-funded counsel and a high indigence rate, many appear in immigration proceedings pro se. The lack of representation has dramatic consequences, particularly for those fleeing persecution abroad or facing separation from family in the United States. The IJP Pro Bono Program aims not only to increase access to counsel for immigrants, but to benefit the judicial system as a whole; legal representation results in more fair, efficient, accurate, and consistent decision-making. IJP’s Pro Bono Program recruits, trains, and mentors volunteer attorneys to serve both detained and non-detained individuals to ensure increased access to justice for indigent immigrants.