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In Defense of Deportation Defense

Michael Kagan

Vol. 56

November 2022

Page 1

Recent years have seen growing momentum toward expanding public funding for legal defense of immigrants fighting deportation. Yet, some recent scholarship argues that government-funded deportation defense carries the risk of legitimizing and entrenching an unsalvageable immigration enforcement system that should simply be abolished. As a result, immigrant rights advocates might hesitate to support deportation defense. This Essay argues that such hesitation would be a mistake. Legal defense is the most feasible means available right now to stop many deportations, and expanding deportation defense resources will strengthen the immigrant rights movement locally and nationally. Expanding deportation defense should be a high priority for local and national immigrant rights advocates over the short- and medium-term future. 

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