Nation’s 1st Public Defender System for Immigrants Facing Deportation Shows Results

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is an ongoing effort to guarantee legal representation for detained low-income immigrants.

News Story (NATIONAL, New York)

John Paul Brammer
NBC News
November 14, 2017

Tags: Deportation, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Brooklyn Defender Services, Vera Institute of Justice


At the time, Siagha was also struggling with mental illness due to a head injury he’d received after being violently assaulted. He said the process of being apprehended and having to appear in court broke down his confidence. He said if it weren’t for his immigration attorney, he probably would have been deported.

But then he met lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the nation’s first public defender system for immigrants like Siagha facing deportation, an ongoing effor to guarantee legal representation.

“If I didn’t have that, I would have definitely been deported and I would have signed the papers,” he said, adding that during the four months he was held, he was administered the incorrect dosage of his medication and was losing his grip on reality. “I didn’t have no more in me to fight.”