Federal Judge Rules in Our Favor, Allowing Non-Profit Organizations to Continue Advocating for Unrepresented Immigrants Facing Deportation

For Immediate Release
July 24th, 2017
Matt Adams, Legal Director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
206-501-6249; matt@nwirp.org


Seattle, WA – Federal court judge Richard A. Jones today granted Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s (NWIRP) request for a preliminary injunction against the Department of Justice, allowing NWIRP and other non-profit legal providers throughout the country to continue providing legal assistance to unrepresented immigrants facing deportation. Judge Jones issued his ruling after hearing oral arguments this morning in a lawsuit brought by NWIRP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.


Earlier this year, NWIRP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP filed NWIRP v. Sessions in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The suit challenges an order from the Department of Justice instructing NWIRP to “cease and desist” from providing limited services to unrepresented immigrants in deportation proceedings. In May, Judge Jones granted a nationwide temporary restraining order in the case.


There is no right to a public defender or appointed counsel in immigration court.  Consequently, the majority of people face deportation hearings without an attorney representing them in their case. Given the grave need for legal representation and NWIRP’s inability to provide full representation to all who seek legal assistance, the cease and desist order threatened to preclude a significant number of immigrants in deportation proceedings from receiving any legal assistance in their cases.


In response to today’s ruling, NWIRP executive director Jorge L. Barón said, “during this unprecedented time of increased immigration detention and deportation of immigrants by the Trump Administration, thousands of immigrants who cannot afford an attorney rely on legal advice to help them as they face deportation. Today’s victory grants them a better opportunity to seek justice.”


Oral arguments for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project were made by Davis Wright Tremaine lawyer James Harlan Corning.


The preliminary injunction will remain in effect while the case continues to be litigated. Read Judge Jones’ written ruling at this link.


Read our motion for preliminary injunction here.