Legal Representation in Immigration Courts Leads to Better Outcomes, Economic Stability

Erika J. Nava
Date of Publication: 
June, 2018
Source Organization: 

Studies have shown that offering legal representation in immigration court increases the likelihood of an individual winning their case, being released to their families, and consequently improving the lives of families.[1] In addition, legal representation has positive impacts in the communities where immigrants reside as deportations not only hurt the individuals, but also their families and local economies. Creating a universal representation program that expands access to counsel for detained immigrants will not only bolster New Jersey’s immigrant families, but the broader state economy.

Key Findings

  • In New Jersey, individuals detained for civil immigration violations are three times as likely to prevail in their cases when they have legal representation.[2] With legal representation, they are also twice as likely to be released prior to the end of their removal proceedings.[3]
  • New Jersey employers pay $5.9 million in turnover-related costs annually as they are forced to replace detained or deported employees.[4]
  • New Jersey’s economy would lose $18 million in wages and$1.6 million in total tax revenue annually from detained immigrants.[5]
  • Annually, detentions and deportations cost New Jersey approximately $732,000 in child health insurance and $203,000 in foster care for children of detained or deported parents.[6]This total annual cost of nearly $1 million does not include the long-term costs associated with child trauma, development, and health conditions from deporting their parents.

Download now or view online.


Nava, E. J. (2019). Legal representation in immigration courts leads to better outcomes, economic stability. Retrieved from New Jersey Policy Perspective website: