Tennessee Law Review
A federally funded universal representation program can serve as a practical first step toward the abolition of immigration detention and the other harsh enforcement mechanisms that are utilized today. While abolition is typically an ideology espoused by a small subsection of the general population, its purpose can be achieved through a less partisan and broader reaching ideal -- fiscal efficiency and responsibility. By demonstrating that the provision of counsel and other wrap around services is significantly less costly than immigration detention, while also showing that providing counsel and wrap around services is an extremely effective way to ensure compliance, this Article hopes to demonstrate appeal for such a proposal to those who may not typically align with an abolitionist ethic. It is clear that immigration detention is harmful and inordinately expensive. It separates families, causes psychological and physical harm to parents and their children, and all too frequently results in death and other irreparable harm. Immigration detention causes economic harm to local communities and strains state and federal resources. Universal representation is in itself a way to end the vast majority of immigration detention. It will ensure immigrants attend their hearings, while also ensuring a greater likelihood of success in their cases. Universal representation can help keep families together, lower costs to US taxpayers, and promote a more just and equitable society.
Matthew Boaz, Practical Abolition: Universal Representation as an Alternative to Immigration Detention, 89 Tenn. L. Rev. 199 (2021).