UPDATE: Immigration Lawyers Rush to Albany County Jail to Help 100+ Migrants

July 9th, 2018

“Detention Outreach Project” assists those transferred from U.S. southern border, parents separated from children

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. Last week, the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, the Legal Project of Albany, and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) launched the Detention Outreach Project to meet the legal needs of immigrants detained at Albany County Jail.

In the first week, attorneys met with 130 of the 320 immigrants currently held at the Albany County Jail. Attorneys screened individual detainees, provided group presentations on the asylum process, and assisted with individual issues such as family separation or medical needs. Of the 123, 121 of the immigrants recently arrived from the border; 9 were transferred from Batavia with pending cases.

Despite assurances from ICE, 16 individuals at the jail were separated from family members including:

  • 8 were separated from their children, with at least 2 still unsure of where their children are;
  • 2 were separated from siblings;
  • The rest were separated from spouses or other adult relatives, who are being detained separately.
  • There is a father/son pair and two sisters currently together at Albany as well.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said: “Once again, attorneys organized to ensure that victims of anti-immigrant policies do not lose their rights under law. Lawyers are on the frontlines, defending immigrants caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s ongoing attacks. In our New York, we seek justice for those who come here yearning to breathe free.”

Sarah Rogerson, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, said "The New York Legal Community, led by our Capital Region providers and supported by our colleagues all over the state, have risen to an enormous task. In just ten days we have stood up a legal rapid response from within a jail, helping ensure that these individuals who were brought to our State are able to have their rights protected no matter what."

Lisa Frisch, Executive Director of The Legal Project in Albany, said "Our attorneys, legal representatives, and partners have worked tirelessly over the last ten days, rushing to set up a process so that we can effectively provide rapid legal assistance to over 300 immigrants who were brought to our doorstep. We thank all of the partners who have made this effort possible and are proud to be part of such an outstanding community."

The DOP will continue their work this week, aiming to screen all individuals currently detained at the jail and ensure that they are able to exercise their rights to claim asylum and receive due process in the United States.


Last week, the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, The Legal Project of Albany, and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) launched the “Detention Outreach Project” (DOP), along with volunteers from the Capital Region Immigration Collaborative (CRIC), the Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative (I-ARC), and Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo), and additional support from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. Additionally, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple worked with DOP to ensure that these immigrants have had access to counsel.

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.