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Council Funds Program that Provides Free Legal Counsel to Detained Immigrants Facing Deportation

Speaker Corey Johnson Makes Funding Announcement to the NY Immigrant Family Unity Project–Credit William Alatriste

Sept. 12, 2019 By Allie Griffin

The City Council is dedicating $16.6 million of this year’s budget to fund and expand a program that provides free legal council to detained immigrants facing deportation. 

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the country’s first public defender system for detained immigrants facing deportation.

The funding for the program’s providers — The Bronx Defenders, Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services — will help ensure detained immigrants continue to have access to legal and due process.

“In response to Trump’s continued demonization of immigrants and to fight against the ICE deportation machine, it is evident that we need more attorneys to represent New Yorkers in need,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “No family should be torn apart because they can’t afford a lawyer while fighting deportation.”

Funding for NYIFUP has increased each year as the number of deportation cases increases and is up from $11.6 million for FY 2019. 

“This funding will help protect immigrant New Yorkers who are at risk of being deported,” said NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm. “It is no secret that our nation’s immigration system has been broken for decades⁠—and that the situation has been made much worse by the Trump administration.”

“These dollars will ensure that legal service providers have the resources they need to defend immigrant New Yorkers from unjust policies that should never have seen the light of day in the first place,” Dromm added.

Immigrants represented by a NYIFUP attorney have a 48 percent success rate in their cases, while immigrants who lack legal representation have just a 4 percent success rate, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. 

“The Trump administration is opening new immigration courts and expanding dockets in an effort to push people through a broken system as quickly as possible without due process,” said Andrea Saenz, Attorney-in-Charge of NYIFUP at Brooklyn Defender Services.

“This funding will ensure that all New Yorkers unjustly detained by ICE and facing deportation will have the right to an attorney to fight for their liberty.”

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Mortdecai Alinsky

Using tax payer dollars to spring pedophiles drug dealers and rapists fits the narrative. how about 16 million for housing?? how many nice buildings u can buy to house homeless families. Get you head out of that grinder app and wake up Danny

Common sense

These metropolitan Democrats have no shame in spending other people’s money. Gd forbid they spend a dollar to improve lives of legal residents.

Sean Lennon

This is a desperately needed program to combat the draconian , racist and cruel immigration policies of this regime. I hope it is replicated in other cities accross the U.S.


Yes, thank you, Danny Dromm, for helping protect the most marginalized in our society. Thanks for doing one of the most important things you were elected to do.

Stop abusing taxpayers

This is a complete disgrace. How can we stop the city from using taxpayer money on illegals? These people should not be here in the first place.

The Taxpayer

Why do taxpayers have to pay the legal costs of people that should not be here to begin with??? Why don’t these left wing politicians use those $16.6mm to fund job training for Americans who are homeless or losing their jobs due to automation?

Why did Trump completely fail to build The Great Wall?

The taxpayer wouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of paying for Trump’s wall if he got Mexico to make a “one-time payment” for it. Oops, that was a lie.

Or if the Trump Shutdown had done anything.

Or if begging Democrats for money had done anything.

Why is he so soft on border security?


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