New Jersey Policy Perspective, a progressive think tank, has issued a report calling for increased legal funding to assist people fighting deportation.

Report author Erika Nava says $2.1 million in Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed budget for legal help for detained immigrants is a good first step. But they estimate $14 million in state funding is needed.

NJPP report points out that people detained for civil immigration violations are three times as likely to win their cases when they have legal representation. Having legal counsel also results in them being twice as likely to be released from custody while their cases are pending.

Murphy's modest budget proposal has been fiercely criticized by immigration hardliners who say public funds should not be spent aiding people who have violated immigration laws.

But Nava says deportation would hurt Jersey's economy, losing an estimated $18 million.

"It means that they are being taken away from their communities and they are not contributing to their communities," she said.

The report also warns that employers in the state would pay an estimated $5.9 million in turnover-related costs per year if forced to replace departed immigrant employees.

"Annually, detentions and deportations cost New Jersey about $732,000 in child health insurance. So, many of the children who have private insurance, or insurance from their parents, when the parents are detained they would not longer have insurance because they are not working."

Sara Culliane of Make the Road New Jersey says "since the start of the Trump administration, there has been a 42 percent increase in ICE arrests in New Jersey. That far outpaces the rest of the country."

"Only 1 in 3 New Jersey detainees have legal representation when they fight deportation. So to meet the growing need, New Jersey should invest additional funds in universal representation programs," she said.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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