Immigration Lawyers Rush to Albany County Jail to Help Migrants

July 2nd, 2018

Attorneys and Advocates Launch the Legal Rapid Response “Detention Outreach Project”

NEW YORK, NY – In the past few weeks, the Department of Homeland Security has effectively brought the Southern Border to New York, transferring hundreds of migrants to a local jail outside Albany. In response, the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, the Legal Project in Albany, and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), in collaboration with the Capital Region Immigration Collaborative (CRIC) and the Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative (I-ARC), have launched the “Detention Outreach Project” (DOP) to mobilize lawyers and interpreters. Since last week, volunteer attorneys have visited the Albany County Jail to do basic detainee intake and screenings. Starting next week, attorneys from across New York will begin joining them.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said: “Lawyers are on the frontlines defending immigrants caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s ongoing attacks. This is our New York and we always stand up for people who come here seeking protection.”

Professor Sarah Rogerson, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, said “There is no reason to imprison people who fled here in fear of their lives. Alternatives to detention work and are much more cost effective. But we will do everything we can now that they are here to restore some due process.”

Lisa Frisch, Executive Director of The Legal Project in Albany stated, "We are fortunate in this area to have the Capital Region Immigration Collaborative, which consists of over 70 immigration attorneys, non-profits, and others working to better coordinate resources for immigrants and refugees. This long-standing collaboration has allowed us to work together Albany Law School and with New York State's Liberty Defense Project, to create a rapid response to the current crisis at the Albany County Jail that was created from the Administration's zero tolerance policy, until such time that there are alternatives to this unnecessary detention."


I-ARC is a collaborative of over 70 immigration, legal, nonprofit services around New York State, including The Legal Aid Society, the Immigrant Justice Corps, Legal Services NYC, Sanctuary for Families, the Immigrant Defense Project, Catholic Charities Community Services, the Community Justice Clinic at the University of Buffalo School of Law, My Sister’s Place, CARECEN-NY, the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the New York Immigration Coalition. I-ARC was formed by several legal service providers building on the momentum of the legal efforts at JFK airport in January 2017 in response to President Trump’s initial Muslim Ban and the subsequent #NoBanJFK movement.