A courtroom is seen at the Karnes County Residential Center, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Karnes City, Texas. CREDIT: AP Photo/Eric Gay

Octubre 04, 2016.-Lawyers can make all the difference in getting immigrants out of deportation proceedings.

Immigrants are allowed to have a lawyer when they’re pleading their cases in immigration court, but unlike U.S. citizens, they are not automatically provided legal representation. Some are able to obtain lawyers to fight for them to either get out of deportation proceedings or to apply for some sort of relief so that they can permanently stay in the country. Others who don’t have access to counsel are up against well-trained government lawyers whose jobs are to follow stringent laws.

That matters because immigrants with legal representation are more likely to be released from detention, more likely to apply for some form of relief, and more likely to receive the relief they sought, according to a national study of access to counsel in immigration courts by the American Immigration Council (AIC).

Yet, the vast majority of immigrants do not have legal representation in immigration court, leaving them more vulnerable to being removed from the United States.

The AIC report — which analyzed data from 1.2 million individual removal cases in immigration court between 2007 and 2012 — found widespread disparities in how legal representation affects the outcome of immigrant cases. Only 37 percent of all immigrants in the study were able to secure legal representation, with immigrants living in New York City and other big cities getting far more access to representation than those living in small cities. The data found that only 14 percent of detained immigrants, like those who were held in prisons, jails, and detention centers, were able to secure legal representation — about five times less than nondetained immigrants. Meanwhile, only 2 percent of people without lawyers were able to successfully avoid deportation.