New York Needs More Competent Immigration Lawyers

Despite having far more lawyers than available jobs, the New York State Bar Association has recently reported that there exists a growing crisis regarding the quality and availability of immigration lawyers.

NY State Bar latest study

The NY State Bar has released the result of its study, which was refering to a severe shortage of qualified immigration lawyers and an inadequate protections from incompetent lawyers. The study also noted the period when the lawyers in New York for the first time were able to demonstrate a minimum degree of standards in regards to the performance status of various immigration lawyers.

Joanne Marci, director of the Criminal Defense Immigration Project for the New York State Defenders Association who helped put the report together noted that incompetent immigration representation often requires judges to step in and take over the process which in no doubt ends up having consequences in the immigration proceedings.

Immigration Judges

In criminal proceedings, the defendant is guaranteed the right to counsel under the 6th Amendment, whereas in immigration proceedings the persons are not guaranteed the right to counsel.

While many theories have been proposed regarding the shortage of competent and qualified immigration attorneys in the state, one of the proposed theories is that a majority of attorneys specializing in immigration law are concentrated in New York City and Buffalo leaving the rest of the state with very few lawyers who are versed in immigration law.  This is particularly true in the central part of the state where there are large majorities migrant farm workers and other immigrants and there are very few- if any at all immigration attorneys.

Shortage of immigration lawyers in New York

Highlighted in the report was a severe shortage of competent immigration attorneys for incarcerated populations up state.  Even though immigrants normally serve their prison sentences upstate, they are often placed in front of immigration judges who have the authority to decide whether the immigrant should be allowed to stay or deported from the country.

Adverse effects of the shortage of Attorneys

Combined with a shortage of immigration lawyers who are willing to provide a pro-bono representation, situations have risen where non-profit organization will assign the case to an individual without a law license and thus, clients can be tremendously affected. In one an instance involving a foreign immigrant, the consultant who took the alien’s case incorrectly filled out the forms which resulted in the government to suspect fraud and a visa denial to the immigrant’s wife and dependents.

The report also highlights a crucial shortage of trained and competent immigration lawyers for incarcerated populations upstate. While immigrants are serving their prison sentences, they are often made to appear before the immigration judges who determine whether to remove the alien national from the United States and send them back to their country of origin.

Furthermore, the report proposed new guidelines for training, fees, file maintenance, and continuing legal education along with setting forth what constitute minimum duties that an attorney would have to perform after agreeing to walk an immigrant through removal proceedings.

Questions to Ask before you Hire a NYC Immigration Lawyer

As you look for trusted professionals in the immigration, make sure you as ask the RIGHT questions:

1. Are you licenced?

2. How much experience do you have in immigration law?

3. Have you handled cases like mine?

4. What is your success rate?

5. How much does it cost and is there a retainer agreement to sign?

These questions are a start. Like everything in life, it’s buyer beware!

Blog by Niren and Associates , an Immigration Law firm  in the field of immigration for over 15 years.

To reach its immigration office in New York, you may dial (212) 810-2976 or email [email protected]

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.