President Trump’s home state has made it crystal clear they will not be supporting his immigration agenda. But now, the state has taken it a step further by putting up $10 million to establish a legal fund for immigrants facing deportation who cannot afford a lawyer.
This program will be called the Liberty Defense Project. Unlike U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants to do not have access to free legal counsel. The project states that it is the “first-in-the-nation, state-led public-private project to assist immigrants, regardless of status, in obtaining access to legal services and process.” To qualify, an immigrants income needs to be below 200% of the federal poverty line.
The Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit social justice policy group, will be receiving $4 million of that budget. The remainder will be given to the New York Immigration Coalition, the Empire Justice Center, the Northern Manhattan Immigration Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Hispanic Federation and the Catholic Charities Community Services.
According to TRAC Immigration, in 2015 98.5% of cases of immigrants with a legal defense ended in a actual deportation. With representation that number drops to 73.7%.
This is something I had never given much thought to before but I think it’s a really great thing that the state committed to. Many undocumented immigrants pay into the tax system and don’t get anything out of it. Hopefully other states follow.