The "Defenders for All Act" in Illinois allows undocumented migrants to request public defenders in immigration proceedings.

In August, Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker signed the "Defenders for All Act," which allows Cook County public defenders to represent undocumented and non-citizens.

The Cook County Office of the Public Defender in Illinois will be able to represent non-citizens regardless of their immigration status. In this way, undocumented migrants will be able to access a fair defense in their legal processes and deportation procedures.

The Defenders For All Act, was promoted by the coalition of the same name, which is made up of more than 40 organizations. Defenders For All pushed the law in Cook County, which becomes the third jurisdiction and the first outside of California to offer representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said this law brings Cook County closer to being a "more welcoming place for everyone to call home." On the other hand, public defender Sharone Mitchell spoke out about the passage of the law and the benefits it brings. “We know that people who go to immigration court without an attorney are much more likely to have a worse outcome. Not because of some fact in their case, but solely because they do not have a lawyer. We want to change that ”.

About 180 thousand undocumented people currently live in Chicago and before the passage of the "Defenders for All Act", deportation hearings did not consider the right to a lawyer. In this way, a certain level of equality of conditions is established through the law and promises to be an improvement for the justice system.

This law connects with the $ 350,000 fund that Cook County allocated in 2020 for the creation of an immigration unit in the Public Defender's office.

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