The UNLV Immigration Clinic received a state appropriation that will allow it to expand services for members of Nevada’s undocumented community facing deportation.
Assembly Bill 376 — called the Keep Nevada Working Act — passed the Legislature in party-line votes before being signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak. It provides $500,000 to the clinic, which offers free immigration legal services, with children making up the bulk of the clients.
Michael Kagan, director of the immigration clinic, said the funds would be used to create an off-campus office and to hire two attorneys associated with the Immigrant Justice Corps. He said the additional resources will make a real difference in people’s lives.
A study from Syracuse University found that “to have a lawyer increases your chances of avoiding deportation at least five-fold, and that’s one of the most modest studies,” Kagan said. “There are studies that find having a lawyer can give you more than 10 times chance of avoiding deportation.”
Effective legal representation can also lower the social and financial costs of immigration enforcement and allow more families to remain together, Kagan said.
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“Someone will go from being detained, literally costing the government money and with their family, not able to depend on them to being able to work legally, contribute to the economy, pay taxes like everybody else,” he said.
Clark County is also considering funding the clinic, partly, to avoid adding to social service costs, said Commissioner Tick Segerblom.
“The reality is anytime someone from a family is deported, then the loss of income for that family, the loss of having a mother or father in that family is just devastating,“ Segerblom said. “Clark County will have to step in and try to help raise those kids.”
Segerblom said the funding for support of the clinic, which awaits a commission vote, would come from