The task force project was embarked on by law firms, nonprofits, immigration groups, bar associations, law schools and representatives from local, state and federal governments.
Peter Markowitz, a clinical associate professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and co-chair of the task force, said last week that, because of the efforts of Katzmann, the issuing of reports and "very good advocacy by institutional providers and heightened awareness of the immigration problem writ large, there is momentum and the time is ripe for some really bold steps forward."
The latest report depicts the scale of the problem in noting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deported 392,000 foreign nationals from the United States in 2011, an 85 percent increase since 2005.
Over the past five years, the report states, more than 15,000 immigrants in New York faced the prospect of deportation without a lawyer.
The aim of the Deportation Defense Project is universal representation with screening only for income eligibility -- a quick examination of which would immediately trigger representation and increase, significantly, the chances the detainee will be released.
The project would operate through "a small group of institutional immigration legal services providers (SPOs) who are in a position to handle the full range of removal cases" and can capture efficiencies of scale.
The providers would conduct intake screenings and could be assigned a day of the week to interview and represent all eligible individuals at a particular master calendar in immigration court.
Savings and efficiencies would also be realized by contracting with a few providers capable of delivering a high volume of services and ensuring efficient attorney-client communications, timely access to critical documents and coordination of court calendars, through regular communication with Homeland Security, the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review and other institutions.
Efficiencies of scale are critical, the report states, because "the time and effort required to represent an immigrant in detention can be daunting for an attorney trying to navigate logistical obstacles alone."
The report details the difficulties faced by attorneys attempting to meet with their detained clients. Attorneys often travel a long way only to wait a full day for a short meeting or are obstructed from meeting their clients altogether.