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Justice

One Big Thing Cities Can Do on Immigration

Most immigrants don’t have lawyers in their deportation hearings. Local governments are starting to fund them. 

Travel restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border that have effectively closed the door to asylum claims there. But local jurisdictions are supporting some immigrants’ legal claims by providing lawyers. 

Travel restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border that have effectively closed the door to asylum claims there. But local jurisdictions are supporting some immigrants’ legal claims by providing lawyers. 

Photographer: Yuko Smith photography/Moment RF

As we near a historic election threatened by efforts to disenfranchise voters, the U.S. continues to wrestle with the systemic racism of its institutions, including the American immigration system.

While the tide of inequities and injustices confronting immigrant communities is nothing new, it has risen dramatically in recent years, the result of stepped-up enforcement and the relentless advancement of anti-immigrant policies. As of mid-2020, the Trump administration has implemented more than 400 immigration executive actions ranging from border and interior enforcement to visa processes that negatively target immigrants and immigration. Some of the most extreme orders have been implemented under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis, such as travel restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border that have effectively closed the door to asylum claims there. A record high of more than half a million people were sent to immigration detention in 2019 as the federal government has advanced the process to deport them.