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NYCLU: City Should Not Limit Legal Aid for Immigrants Facing Deportation

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The New York Civil Liberties Union today joined dozens of community organizations across the city in sending a letter urging Mayor de Blasio to preserve universal representation for detained New Yorkers in deportation proceedings. Last week, Mayor de Blasio announced that while his proposed executive budget included $16 million for legal aid for immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unit Project, his intention was to stop providing this aid to New Yorkers with certain criminal convictions. In the past, the New York Immigrant Family Unit Project has never tied a person’s criminal history to whether or not they have access to a lawyer when facing deportation.

The following statement is attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“New York’s provision of legal aid to immigrants facing deportation has been a model for the rest of the country. Limiting access to the program is particularly dangerous now,  as the federal government promises to escalate detentions and deportations in immigrant communities in NYC and nationwide.

“When the stakes are as high as deportation, everyone,  no matter their history, deserves an attorney. Due process demands no less. An attorney is especially critical for detained immigrants, who can be 10 times more likely to succeed in their deportation case with legal representation.”

“We urge the Mayor to stand up for justice for immigrants, and reassert the right to legal aid for all New Yorkers facing deportation — without exception.”

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