If you are an immigrant with a pending case and you currently live in Illinois, Wisconsin or another part of the United States, you may be wondering how much having an immigration attorney represent you can help you. Unlike in the traditional judicial system, those who go through immigration court do not automatically have a right to counsel. Therefore, many immigrants have few choices other than to place their faith in legal aid clinics, or in the hands of those offering pro bono representation.

According to Vox, some immigration advocates are trying to change the lack of legal options many immigrants have when it comes to legal representation, and immigrants across Chicago may be among those who benefit. Chicago is among a handful of cities that may soon implement a program similar to one already in practice in New York called the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project.

At its core, the program seeks to provide every detained immigrant access to legal counsel, and the impact of the program, to date, is undeniable. With adequate legal representation, as many as 12 times as many immigrants have been able to win their immigration cases, meaning they were either able to successfully fight deportation or otherwise obtain legal relief from it.

Giving all immigrants a chance at legal representation is a step in a new direction for many immigration advocates, some of whom have previously tried to protect immigrants by failing to comply with federal requests and roundups. So far, signs indicate that giving all immigrants access to legal counsel may prove more far more effective than making efforts to evade federal authorities in the long run.