Friday, March 1, 2024

Immigrants Facing Deportation in NYC to be Provided with Lawyer

blog post 6-27

Marking the first time a jurisdiction has voted to provide attorneys to immigrants who cannot afford one, New York City recently approved $4.9 million dollars to fund the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP).

The program received only $500,000 in funding last year, but has grown to accommodate the numerous immigrants who still cannot afford an attorney. This program is projected to help over 1,300 immigrants not only in New York City, but in Newark and Elizabeth as well.

Immigrants facing trial do not have a right to council, as deportation proceedings are civil, not criminal matters. It is estimated that 60 percent of immigrants do not have legal representation for their cases.

Judge Robert Katzmann, who initiated the Study Group on Immigration Representation, explains that “only 3% of unrepresented detained immigrants win their proceedings.” He went on to show that lawyers improve “immigrants’ chances of success in the range of 500%-1000%.”

Facing deportation as an immigrant can feel like an overwhelming, helpless situation. The fact that New York City will provide immigrants with an attorney will help to ensure justice and avoid the confusion and distress that immigrants are faced with when they are forced to represent themselves in deportation proceedings.