Friday, June 27, 2014

New York City Letting Immigrants Lawyer Up for Free

Maybe other cities will start this also, I'm sure it is needed.  - - Donna Poisl

by Caitlin Dickson

New York City is now the first jurisdiction in the country with a public defender system dedicated solely to providing free legal council to every poor, detained immigrant facing deportation.  On Thursday morning, New York’s City Council approved a $4.9 million budget for a program called the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, following the success of a year-long trial run. That money will cover representation for approximately 1,380 detained immigrants facing deportation in the next year.

‪The Family Unity Project was born from the results of a five-year study by the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York, and the Immigrant Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School. The study discovered 67 percent of detained immigrants in New York go through immigration hearings without the help of a lawyer, because they can’t afford one, and of those that represent themselves only three percent do so successfully. According to the study, those same immigrants are 10 times more likely to prevail in immigration court with legal representation.
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