Friday, November 30, 2018
The forays of the Trump administration into the wilds of immigration restriction have highlighted a trend that existed well prior to the election: the unchecked growth of immigration governance strategies that rely on large-scale restrictions of liberty in the form of mass detention and deportation. These mushrooming immigration policing strategies, however, are encountering a new conceptualization of immigrant advocacy that delivers representation on a large scale through massive collaborative representation. Like other mass advocacy models that aggregate clients and lawyers such as large law firms and the class action device, the big immigration law model may have potential to change the balance of power between individuals and private or governmental entities, restore unhealthy adjudication ecosystems that undermine access to justice, or improve blocked procedural or practical pathways to substantive legal norms such as asylum. This Article locates the origins of the big immigration law model in the national collaborative representation project that arose in response to the mass detention of female-headed families fleeing from Central America, which is now being applied to dysfunctional immigration adjudication and the detention facilities proliferating under the current Administration. It identifies its main attributes: collectivization, scalability, and the selection of a focal geographic point for advocacy. We conclude with an agenda for further research into this innovation in conceptualizing access to law.