Fairness to Freedom 3

Everyone facing deportation and its devastating consequences needs access to high-quality, independent legal representation, regardless of whether they can afford it.

That’s why the Vera Institute of Justice and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) launched Fairness to Freedom: The Campaign for Universal Representation and why we are calling on Congress to pass the Fairness to Freedom Act.

By passing the Fairness to Freedom Act to establish a universal right to federally funded representation for anyone facing deportation, we will help ensure that nobody is forced to defend themself in immigration court alone, and that nobody is deported simply because they can’t afford a lawyer.

Why Fairness to Freedom?

Nobody should have to face the prospect of deportation alone simply because they can’t afford a lawyer. But unlike in the criminal legal system, people facing deportation from the United States do not have a right to legal representation at government expense if they can’t afford to hire an attorney. As a result, most immigrants facing detention and deportation who can’t afford a lawyer—including adults, children, and families—are forced to defend themselves in a highly complex area of the law against well-resourced government lawyers. The consequences of deportation can be devastating, including physical exile from home, separation from family and community, return to conditions of persecution and torture, and even death.

By passing the Fairness to Freedom Act and establishing universal representation for all people facing deportation, we can make sure that everyone has a fighting chance to understand their legal options, exercise their rights, and stay with their families and communities.

How it works

The Fairness to Freedom Act will establish a right to representation in removal proceedings, at government expense, for people who can’t afford it. To ensure this right is meaningful, the act will:

  • ensure early, continuous, full-scope representation;
  • enable representatives to provide high quality, holistic representation;
  • require the government to facilitate access to counsel for people in its custody;
  • establish an independent Office of Immigration Representation to ensure high-quality, universal representation;
  • work with existing state and locally funded removal defense programs to provide universal representation; and
  • ensure representation for people facing removal at the border.

News and Stories

Tools and Resources

Join our growing coalition

Join Vera, NPNA, and over 200 endorsers across the country to
demand fairness and due process for people facing deportation.

If you belong to a nonprofit or private firm or are an elected
official and want to endorse the campaign, join here.

  • Acacia Center for Justice
  • Advocates for Immigrant Rights
  • African Communities Together
  • Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice
  • Aldea - The People's Justice Center
  • Alianza Americas and Presente.org
  • Alianza NORCO
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • American Friends Service Committee NJ
  • American Gateways
  • American Immigration Council (AIC)
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Americans for Immigrant Justice
  • Apna Ghar, Inc.
  • Arizona Justice for Our Neighbors
  • Arkansas United
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
  • Asian Law Alliance
  • Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors
  • Ayuda
  • Bergen County Immigration Strategy Group
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
  • Bridges Faith Initiative
  • Brooklyn Defender Services
  • California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice
  • Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition
  • CASA
  • Casa San Jose
  • Casa Yurumein
  • Catholic Migration Services
  • Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
  • Center for Immigration Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law
  • Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)
  • Center for Victims of Torture
  • Central American Resource Center of California (CARECEN)
  • Central Washington Justice For Our Neighbors
  • Centro Romero
  • Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
  • City of Albuquerque
  • City of Atlanta Office of the Public Defender
  • City of Dallas
  • Cleveland Jobs with Justice
  • Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
  • Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
  • Colorado Immigrant Justice Fund
  • Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)
  • Community Immigration Law Center
  • Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
  • Comunidades Unidas
  • Conversations with Friends
  • Doctors for Camp Closure
  • Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • Elena's Light
  • Entre Hermanos
  • Envision Freedom Fund
  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
  • Esperanza Immigration Legal Services
  • Familias Unidas en Acción
  • Families for Freedom
  • Farmworker & Immigration Rights Clinic (Florida State University College of Law)
  • First Focus Campaign for Children
  • First Friends of NJ & NY
  • Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project
  • Florida Immigrant Coalition
  • Freedom Network USA
  • Global Cleveland
  • Haitian Bridge Alliance
  • HANA Center
  • Harris County Community Services Department - Legal Services
  • Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights
  • Hello Neighbor Network
  • Her Justice, Inc.
  • HIAS
  • HIAS Pennsylvania
  • Hispanic Federation
  • Hondurans Against AIDS, Inc.
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
  • Human Rights First
  • Illinois Workers in Action
  • Immigrant ARC
  • Immigrant Children Advocates' Relief Effort (ICARE)
  • Immigrant Defenders Law Center
  • Immigrant Justice Corps
  • Immigrant Justice Idaho
  • Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
  • Immigrant Legal Defense
  • Immigrant Rights Action
  • Immigration Advocates Network
  • Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy
  • India Home
  • International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice
  • Jewish Family Service of San Diego
  • JFON El Paso
  • Juntos
  • Just Neighbors
  • Just Neighbors Ministry
  • Just Peace Circles, Inc
  • Justice for all Immigrants
  • Justice for Our Neighbors Michigan
  • Justice in Motion
  • Keep Tucson Together
  • Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
  • La Raza Centro Legal San Francisco
  • Law Office of Daniela Hernandez Chong Cuy
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Liberian Association of Michigan
  • Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates
  • Lila LGBTQ Inc.
  • Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants
  • Maine Immigrants Rights Coalition
  • Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition
  • Massachusetts Immigrant Collaborative
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
  • Michigan Immigrant Rights Center
  • Michigan United
  • Migrant Center for Human Rights
  • MN8
  • National Center for Youth Law
  • National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel
  • National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)
  • National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
  • National Justice for Our Neighbors
  • National Partnership for New Americans
  • Nationalities Service Center
  • Nebraska Appleseed
  • Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Neighbors Link
  • NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
  • New England Justice for Our Neighbors
  • New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)
  • New York Justice for Our Neighbors
  • NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center
  • Next100
  • NorCal Resist
  • North Carolina Immigration Law & Justice Center
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Oasis Legal Services
  • OCA-Greater Houston
  • Occupy Bergen County (New Jersey)
  • Office of San Diego County Supervisor Lawson-Remer
  • Office of San Francisco Public Defender
  • Ohio Immigrant Alliance
  • OneAmerica
  • Open Immigration Legal Services
  • Opening Doors, Inc.
  • Oxfam America
  • Pangea Legal Services
  • Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans
  • Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition
  • Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center
  • People’s College of Law
  • Pima County Justice for All Initiative Campaign
  • Pima County Public Defender
  • Progressive Leadership Alliance Of Nevada (PLAN)
  • Promise Arizona
  • Public Defenders Coalition for Immigrant Justice
  • RAICES
  • Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR) Center at the Univ of MD, Baltimore
  • Redes en Accion Venezuela
  • Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
  • Sarah Plastino Consulting LLC
  • Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
  • Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)
  • Social Workers for Immigration Justice and Human Rights
  • Somos Un Pueblo Unido
  • Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA)
  • Strangers No Longer (Michigan)
  • Strategic Initiative Group on Migration and Refugee Protection (Villanova University)
  • Tahirih Justice Center
  • Takoma Park Mobilization
  • Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
  • Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors
  • The Advocates for Human Rights
  • The Association of Afghans in Arizona
  • The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
  • The Immigration Hub
  • The Legal Aid Society
  • The Legal Clinic
  • The Resurrection Project
  • The Shapiro Law Firm, LLC
  • UnidosUS
  • Unified Asian Communities
  • Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
  • Unite Oregon
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445
  • University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Variant Strategies
  • Vera Institute of Justice
  • Voces De La Frontera
  • Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Washington Defender Association
  • Welcoming America
  • Western Center for Defense Advocacy
  • Woori Juntos
  • Yesuah Jehovah Outreach Center
  • YMCA International
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights
  • YWCA of Kalamazoo Michigan

Data for these numbers is based on Vera's original analysis of immigration court data pulled from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), "FOIA Library," accessed July 2023, https://www.justice.gov/eoir/foia-library-0.