Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB0684
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Full Text of SB0684  102nd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 2/25/2021, by Sen. Celina Villanueva


New Act

    Creates the Right to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Act. Establishes the Task Force on Counsel in Immigration Proceedings. Provides for members, compensation, and support staff. Provides that the Task Force shall investigate the implementation of universal representation for covered individuals in immigration removal proceedings. Provides that the Task Force shall submit a report of its findings in the investigation and its recommendations for how to fully provide legal representation for covered individuals facing immigration proceedings no later than July 1, 2022. Repeals the Act July 1, 2023. Effective immediately.

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1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Right
5to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Act.
6    Section 5. Purpose; findings.
7    (a) The State is committed to fair and equal treatment of
8all individuals, and, in particular, of individuals at risk of
9removal and separation from their families through the federal
10immigration detention and deportation system.
11    (b) While an individual in removal proceedings has the
12right to legal representation, the representation is at the
13individual's own expense and may be beyond the financial
14capacity of low-income households.
15    (c) Nearly two-thirds of all individuals facing
16immigration removal proceedings throughout the United States
17lack legal representation. Among the individuals in
18immigration detention, only one in 6 individuals were
19represented by counsel. Among the individuals facing removal
20proceedings in this State, less than one in 3 individuals,
21generally, and less than one in 8 individuals in detention
22were represented by counsel.
23    (d) Legal representation is essential to effective



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1identification and presentation of avenues for release from
2detention and relief from removal. Individuals in immigration
3detention are 4 times more likely to win release if
4represented by legal counsel than individuals without
5representation by legal counsel. In removal proceedings,
6detained individuals are 11 times more likely to succeed in
7claims for relief if represented by legal counsel than
8individuals without representation by legal counsel.
9    (e) Legal representation in removal proceedings has
10improved the efficiency of the proceedings and the
11administration of justice as individuals are better able to
12present their defenses and claims for relief.
13    (f) It is the public policy of this State that all covered
14individuals should have the right to ongoing legal
15representation in covered proceedings. This right to counsel
16should include provisions of funds sufficient to ensure that
17legal service providers are funded to:
18        (1) engage support staff, interpretation staff, and
19    investigative staff;
20        (2) contract as reasonably necessary with independent
21    experts, including country conditions experts and forensic
22    medical experts; and
23        (3) contract as reasonably necessary with social
24    service providers providing supportive and rehabilitative
25    services to covered individuals during the course of their
26    removal proceedings.



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1    (g) This State should establish a program and a dedicated
2fund to provide the legal services described in subsection
4    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
5    "Covered individual" means any individual subject to
6removal proceedings under 8 U.S.C. 1225, 1228, and 1229a or a
7final order of removal under 8 CFR 1241.1, including any
8related covered proceeding, regardless of age, who is: (i) a
9domiciliary of this State; or (ii) an individual who is not a
10domiciliary of this State if removal proceedings are conducted
11against the individual in this State.
12    "Covered proceeding" means any proceeding in which a
13covered individual is a party and is seeking an avenue of
14relief from removal from the United States or is challenging
15his or her arrest or detention under the Immigration and
16Nationality Act and its implementing regulations. "Covered
17proceeding" includes:
18        (1) a proceeding or hearing in an immigration court
19    and any related application to United States Citizenship
20    and Immigration Services connected to the proceeding or
21    hearing;
22        (2) an immigration proceeding conducted by telephone
23    or video teleconference;
24        (3) a proceeding in a State court for purposes of
25    obtaining a special findings order;



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1        (4) a proceeding in a State court for purposes of
2    vacating a conviction or modifying a sentence in which the
3    conviction or sentence is relevant to the immigration
4    proceedings at issue;
5        (5) a credible fear interview or reasonable fear
6    interview;
7        (6) a habeas corpus petition to a federal district
8    court challenging detention under the Immigration and
9    Nationality Act;
10        (7) a motion to reopen or reconsider under 8 U.S.C.
11    1229a;
12        (8) a petition for review under 8 U.S.C. 1252;
13        (9) a remand to a federal district court from the
14    United States Court of Appeals for fact-finding purposes;
15    and
16        (10) any appeal related to any of the foregoing to the
17    Board of Immigration Appeals, the United States Court of
18    Appeals, or the United States Supreme Court.
19    "Domicile" means a true, fixed, and permanent legal home
20of an individual or the place to which the individual intends
21to return even though the individual may reside elsewhere.
22    "Domiciliary" means an individual who has established a
23domicile with respect to a particular jurisdiction.
24    "Immigration court" means a tribunal of the Executive
25Office for Immigration Review, or a successor entity, tasked
26with deciding the inadmissibility or deportability of a



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1noncitizen of the United States that is presided over by an
2immigration judge as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(4).
3    "Legal services" means individual legal assistance in a
4single consultation, or ongoing legal representation, provided
5by a legal services provider to a covered individual, and all
6legal advice, advocacy, and assistance associated with the
8    "Legal services provider" means an individual,
9organization, or association that has the authority to provide
10legal services.
11    Section 15. Task Force on Counsel in Immigration
13    (a) The Task Force on Counsel in Immigration Proceedings
14is established.
15    (b) The Task Force shall consist of 7 members appointed by
16the Governor, in consultation with the President of the
17Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
18Attorney General, and the Secretary of Human Services.
19    (c) Members of the Task Force shall serve without
21    (d) The Department of Human Services shall provide
22administrative and other support to the Task Force.
23    (e) The Task Force shall investigate the implementation of
24universal representation for covered individuals in
25immigration removal proceedings as described in subsection (f)



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1of Section 5. The Task Force investigation shall include, but
2is not limited to, the following matters:
3        (1) the estimated number of covered individuals facing
4    a covered proceeding;
5        (2) the current infrastructure for providing
6    independent, competent, and zealous legal representation
7    in a covered proceeding;
8        (3) the additional resources, including salaries and
9    benefits for attorneys and support staff, training,
10    supervision, and material resources that would need to be
11    added to the existing infrastructure described in
12    paragraph (2) in order to provide independent, competent,
13    and zealous legal representation for the number of covered
14    individuals described in paragraph (1), including
15    mechanisms for subcontracted relationships with
16    independent experts and social service providers;
17        (4) the estimated annual cost of the additional
18    resources described in paragraph (3);
19        (5) funding sources, public and private, that are or
20    would be available to pay for the additional resources
21    described in paragraph (3); and
22        (6) the estimated annual cost of bond payment support
23    needed for covered individuals facing a covered
24    proceeding, and the feasibility of a State-sponsored bond
25    fund for those individuals.
26    (f) In order for the Governor and General Assembly to



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1evaluate different scopes of legal representation in
2immigration court proceedings, the Task Force investigation
3described in subsection (e) shall provide additional findings
4in the following categories:
5        (1) State domiciliary versus non-State domiciliary
6    covered individuals, and, among the State domiciliary
7    covered individuals, the regions of residence within the
8    State;
9        (2) household income above and below 250% of the
10    federal poverty line;
11        (3) type of proceedings in which the covered
12    individuals need legal representation; and
13        (4) current percentages of covered individuals in
14    covered proceedings with and without legal representation.
15    (g) The Task Force shall submit a report of its findings in
16the investigation described in subsection (e) and its
17recommendations for how to fully provide legal representation
18for covered individuals facing covered proceedings no later
19than July 1, 2022.
20    Section 20. Repeal. This Act is repealed on July 1, 2023.
21    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
22becoming law.