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.”