Immigration Advocates to City: Expand Legal Services, Protect All New Yorkers!

May 22nd, 2017

In response to new data released by ICE, the New York Immigration Coalition held a press conference and day of action at City Hall.

The New York Immigration Coalition joined elected officials and advocates on Monday to urge the City Council and Mayor to include $21.4 million in funding for immigrant legal services in the final budget, in order to address the major uptick in immigration arrests happening nationwide. New data released by ICE last week showed that since Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration enforcement, arrests are up by 40%.

Following the press conference, the Coalition and its partners launched its inaugural Immigration Legal Service Provider Day of Action, meeting with council members to discuss why these numbers only further underscore the need for the final budget to include funding for legal services, specifically for organizations providing complex case representation.

Camille Mackler, Director of Legal Initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition, said that in a time of increased ICE enforcement that is unprecedented, it is critical that New York’s immigrant communities have access to legal advice and representation.

“New York is a city of immigrants, yet the devastation caused by lack of legal representation has been exacerbated as a result of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies,” she said. “The City has been a long time leader in supporting immigrants through its unique programs and now should be no different. In a time of heightened need for services, the City must renew its commitment to protecting all New Yorkers.”

“NYC must take immediate action to ensure that immigrant service providers that offer comprehensive legal services are fully funded," said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "Arrests and detentions of immigrant New Yorkers with no criminal history are on the rise. Unprovoked ICE raids continue to tear families apart and sow fear and discord in our communities. As a Council Member representing one of the largest and most diverse immigrant communities in the nation, I am proud to join the New York Immigration Coalition in advocating for this funding."

"The increase in ICE arrests makes clear that more New York immigrants than ever are at risk of detention and deportation. New York City should ensure access to legal representation for all immigrants locked up and facing deportation, without deciding that some people do not deserve due process or honest advice because they have a conviction on a list, no matter if that person is a valued member of his or her family and community who poses no danger to anyone,” said Andrea Saenz, Supervising Attorney, Brooklyn Defender Services. “The universal representation model of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project has ensured due process to detained New Yorkers for over 3 years, and the city should proudly continue and expand that model."

“At Immigrant Defense Project, we get hundreds of calls from concerned New Yorkers impacted by the cruel and disorienting deportation system. We often inform them of the pioneering universal representation project in our city – NYIFUP – the hallmark of which is due process for all, regardless of record. NYIFUP has helped countless people and their loved ones understand and navigate the harsh, traumatic realities of the system. ICE's latest report clearly shows that efforts to deport millions of people are ramping up and a serious risk to New Yorkers, said Mizue Aizeki, Deputy Director, Immigrant Defense Project. “As more New Yorkers live in fear – and as the federal government aims to paint more and more immigrants as a threat -- now is not the time to exclude some of our neighbors but instead for our city to continue to lead the way and fund universal representation for immigrants.”

“African Services Committee attorneys are first responders in a climate fraught with the imminent threat of deportation and separation for countless immigrant families at a time when we are experiencing an unprecedented rise in demand for our services and need exceeds capacity,” added African Services Committee Supervising Attorney Corina Bogaciu. “Funding for unrestricted immigration representation is particularly critical for the black immigrant community we serve, as black immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to face deportation based on criminal grounds and be detained and ultimately deported based on those grounds. African immigrants are often eligible for complex and time-intensive types of immigration relief, such as asylum. These factors combined present capacity challenges for African Services Committee and other providers serving this community.”

"America is facing a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. We can assist immigrants impacted by this crisis by ensuring that their due process rights are protected. We applaud the Mayor and the City Council for supporting New York immigrants and urge the administration and city council to provide additional resources to prevent the deportation of hardworking immigrants," said Jojo Annobil, Executive Director of Immigrant Justice Corps.


The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.