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Overview of the Program & Components

For many people facing removal (deportation), the stakes are high: they may have lived in the United States for a long time, they may have legal status or a valid defense, they may be fleeing persecution in their home country, and they may have family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. At the same time, those who cannot afford to hire an attorney must either represent themselves or attempt to find free legal services to help them navigate complex immigration laws.

The Legal Orientation Program offers four levels of service to immigrants in detention:

  • Group orientations: presentations by legal staff that offer a broad overview of the immigration court process and relief from deportation.
  • Individual orientations: one-on-one meetings that allow participants to ask more detailed questions about specific defenses and the court process.
  • Self-help workshops: small group classes for people preparing to represent themselves in court. In these workshops, individuals can prepare and practice with other individuals who will be pursuing similar defenses.
  • Referrals to pro bono attorneys: pro bono referrals are provided to participants who are unable to represent themselves or who would particularly benefit from outside representation.

Detained individuals facing removal who are eligible for relief are more likely to obtain it, while those who are ineligible for relief are more likely to agree to depart the country without delay. By educating detained individuals so they can make more informed decisions, the LOP helps secure access to justice for immigrants in detention, while generating cost-savings to the federal government in the form of more efficient court and detention processes.