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Cruz Introduces Bill Guaranteeing Legal Representation for Immigrants Facing Deportation

Assembly Member Catalina Cruz

Jan. 16, 2020 By Kristen Torres

A Queens lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ensure immigrants facing deportation have access to an attorney.

Assemblymember Catalina Cruz—who represents Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights—introduced the Access to Representation Act on Wednesday, which would provide immigrants facing deportation with the legal right to an attorney, even if they cannot afford one.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, of Manhattan, introduced the bill in the senate.

Low-income New Yorkers facing deportation must currently rely on non-profit attorneys or navigate the legal system alone.

“Every day thousands of immigrants statewide face the possibility of deportation without due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” Cruz said in a statement Wednesday. “If they cannot afford a lawyer, they are left to fight a complex immigration system on their own.”

Under the bill, the state would fund representation for anyone facing deportation within certain income brackets. And while New York already funds two public programs for immigrants facing deportation—the Liberty Defense Project and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project—the new bill would make the right to counsel a law.

“Our bill seeks to right this wrong by ensuring that the promises made by our Constitution are provided to everyone, not simply those who are able to afford it,” Cruz said.

Advocates for the bill said the legislation is necessary to relieve pressure from city and state organizations, and guarantee fundamental rights for the immigrant population.

A recent study conducted by the American Immigration Council found that nearly 80 percent of immigrants facing deportation who have attorneys win their cases. The study found that only 15 percent of those without attorneys win.

“Just as the Constitution guarantees that everyone in criminal justice proceedings is given a lawyer if they cannot afford one, New York’s immigrants should also be guaranteed access to high-quality, low-cost lawyers,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York State Immigration Coalition.

“We need bold action from New York State to protect our immigrant communities,” he added.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

22 Comments

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Just waiting on that payment from Mexico ?

He pretended Mexico would make a “one-time payment” for the wall. Were you actually gullible enough to believe him?

Once that lie was clear, he threw a tantrum, and shutdown the government. The dems outsmarted him. It accomplished nothing.

Now he’s forcing more taxes on us for it?! Why hasn’t he built a single inch?

Why is he so soft on border security?

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Louis Bauso

This woman is s lunatic. This one sided socialist wants to give everything away free of charge. Wake up you radicals. Nothing is free. It comes out of your tax dollars and your taxes will go up to support these Bill’s. Most of you radical supports won’t be effected because you too don’t pay taxes. Hay Cortez go back to waiting tables and tending bars. Ain’t no room for you in politics.

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Sara Ross

My grandparents came here through Ellis Island on a ship for more than 2 weeks and they didn’t travel in first class. Then once they got to Ellis Island, they sat in a room with other people who came here for a better life for hours, if not days, waiting to take physical and mental tests and they had to not only have a job but a place to live because this country had no social programs and was not going to support them. Thank God my grandparents passed every test, had jobs and a place to live. They learned English and assimilated to this country. This country didn’t assimilate to them. We need to go back to some form of Ellis Island.

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Land of the free, home of the brave

My story is the same as yours. My grandparents and father did what they had to do to make life better for themselves. They left Europe because they did not want help from the government. They learned English, and never referred to their homelands as “My country”. America was their country,English was their language. Too many people who come to the U.S. want things the way they had it in their home countries. Don’t come if you want that.

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DB

How do you know if they are here illegally if they don’t have proper representation? That’s just like being against public defenders because if someone’s accused of a crime they must be guilty.

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Queens Lady

DB, read the article. It says the bill would provide legal help to those being deported. You only get deported if you are in the country illegally. That’s why they are called illegal aliens. Duh! Use tax dollars for things that benefit legal citizens.

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DB

Right, just like you only go to jail if you commit a crime. Surely there have never been any instances of wrongful conviction in this country’s history….

As I said, this is the same concept as a public defender. And with deportations, often times people are legally able to stay or at least extend their stay during their trial but are sent away because of a lack of understanding of the laws (especially if they aren’t native English speakers).

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VVNY

Seriously? So on what grounds (give me an example) someone who is here legally would be tried to be deported?

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DB

Seriously? Hundreds, if not thousands of US citizens get detained or deported.

https://jacquelinestevens.org/StevensVSP18.32011.pdf

And this is just US citizens – there are plenty of reasons why a non-citizen would tried for deportation. They could be here legally through one of the many different visa programs but an error on the part of the government could cause them to think they have overstayed their visa (yes, believe it or not the government does make errors). Or they should be afforded extra time to stay in the country and fight their case but because they don’t know the laws they can’t defend themselves.

Again, as I’m trying to make clear this is the exact same concept of using a public defender when someone is accused of committing a crime. In this case, they are ACCUSED of being here illegally and found guilty without any counsel (or understanding of the legal structure and language).

If you or someone from your family was form a different country and is here legally then you would understand how difficult the process is here. There are plenty of windows for error, even for law abiding and self sufficient people.

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VVNY

DB, I’m sure no one gets deported because of a clerical
error. Your logic is analogous to the one where if there is a very slight possibility of a brick falling on someone’s head the city should pay to install scaffolding around EVERY building in the NYC.

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DB

Are you just going to ignore the source I posted that states that hundreds of US Citizens are deleted/detained? Are they not worthy of public defense?

You asked for an example and I gave a couple of reasons why it would make sense. But then your response is just “I’m sure that’s not true! If this is happening then they must have done something wrong.” That’s very shoddy logic and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re against the concept of public defense because normal people wouldn’t be arrested if they did nothing wrong.

I’m not here to provide you with scores of reasons just because you demand it. But an extremely quick search brought up this.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-citizens-ice-20180427-htmlstory.html

“The errors reveal flaws in the way ICE identifies people for deportation, including its reliance on databases that are incomplete and plagued by mistakes. The wrongful arrests also highlight a presumption that pervades U.S. immigration agencies and courts that those born outside the United States are not here legally unless electronic records show otherwise. And when mistakes are not quickly remedied, citizens are forced into an immigration court system where they must fight to prove they should not be removed from the country, often without the help of an attorney.“

If it happens to American citizens then you can be it happens to non-citizens.

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Cause we foot the bill for everything else.

From students travel expenses to their breakfast, lunch and school supplies.

You know, all the things parents were responsible for back in the 60s.

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Fantomas

Another slap in the face of legal residents. Not only do these politicians want people to come and stay here illegally now they want legal residents’ taxes to be diverted to fight to legalize everyone who comes here illegally. What a bunch of malarkey.

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Half Native

Nothing. Native Americans were given sovereignty by the U.S. government. I guess you didn’t pay attention in history class.

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Fantomas

Was there ever an argument about the legality of Native Americans’ presence in this country? You are the same as the rest of radical left. Just writing stuff for click bait and knee jerk reactions.

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JH Resident

If the politicians feel so bad for them let them pay out of their pockets. I don’t want to pay for them.

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