New York, NY – As of Monday, March 14, 2022, the New York State Senate and Assembly have each submitted their respective one-house budget resolutions, which include important provisions to fund immigration services, for the fiscal year that starts April 1, 2022.
The Vera Institute of Justice and New York Immigration Coalition issued the following statements in response:
Annie Chen, SAFE Initiative Director, Vera Institute of Justice:
“Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have released their one-house budget proposals, which include important provisions to fund immigration services. However, their commitments mirror what Governor Kathy Hochul proposed in the executive budget proposal, which does not meet the need to fully support immigrant New Yorkers who are a part of the fabric of the state. Funding for immigration legal services has remained flat since 2017, even though immigrants face persistently dangerous detention conditions and unprecedented challenges in immigration court. As the three-way budget negotiations commence, we urge the legislature and Governor Hochul to increase this funding to $24.4 million. Lawmakers can seize this critical opportunity to make a significant investment in strong and stable communities where families remain united, businesses continue to operate, and communities can not only recover from the pandemic but also thrive. The next step is the passage of the Access to Representation Act, which would promote fairness and dignity by establishing a right to government-funded lawyers for people at risk of deportation.”
Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition:
“With their one-house budgets, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie fell short of providing the full investments needed to keep all New York families together. Without full funding, far too many immigrant New Yorkers will face dangerous detention conditions and our byzantine immigration court system without the legal services they need to keep our families and communities stable and strong. Governor Hochul and Albany still have time to remedy this situation by increasing the funding for immigrant legal services to $24.4 million. Albany must prioritize the safety of all New York families and communities to ensure New York's recovery.”