Adina Appelbaum

  • Hosted by Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition
  • Sponsored by The Arnold & Porter Foundation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Adina will expand holistic deportation defense representation for detained immigrants with criminal convictions who have significant family and community ties throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

There is no right to a public defender in immigration court and therefore, the vast majority of detained immigrants lack access to counsel, including those with criminal convictions. The growing nexus of criminal and immigration law, or “crimmigration,” has enmeshed convictions and deportation: in FY2013, 59% of deported immigrants had been convicted of a crime, primarily for minor offenses such as traffic violations or simple drug possession. Many immigrants facing crime-based deportation have significant family and community ties, are legal green card holders, and serve as family breadwinners. Moreover, an estimated 4.5 million U.S. citizen children have an undocumented parent at risk of deportation. Minor violations and mistakes – that many Americans make – can mean the double, disproportionate punishment of banishment from society and permanent separation from family. Yet the impact of access to immigration counsel is clear. In New York alone, 74% of non citizens who are represented secure relief from deportation, compared to 13% who lack counsel. Although detained non citizens with crimes have the most complex arguments to make against deportation, and may be eligible for relief if such arguments are made, they are often the least likely to be placed with pro bono counsel.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Adina:

  • Built a network of pro bono attorneys dedicated to representing detained immigrants with convictions facing deportation through advocacy, recruitment, and trainings
  • Provided test case representation to clients based on priority categories of non citizens most disproportionately affected by crime-based deportation
  • Initiated process for DC, MD, and VA criminal public defenders to refer detained clients who meet test case priority categories
  • Drafted crim-imm pro se materials and advisories

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