Advocates implore Cuomo to fund immigrant legal services

In previous years, the Cuomo Administration has touted funding for an initiative that provides free legal services to immigrants across New York state. However, funding for the program is nowhere to be found on the governor's recently released 2021 draft budget.

News Story (New York)

Rebecca Carballo
Albany Times Union
January 29, 2020

Tags: Immigration

Organizations mentioned/involved: New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP)


Legislators and other interested parties are looking for a more permanent solution to secure funding for immigrant legal services. The New York Immigration Coalition and the state bar worked with legislators to draft a bill that would guarantee immigrants facing deportation the right to an attorney. The Access to Representation Act (ARA) was introduced by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) last week.

If the bill passes, the state would fund and appoint a lawyer to low-income immigrants in the state who have a case before an immigration judge or who have a basis to file an appeal to reopen an old deportation order.

The New York State Bar Association has floated this idea before, but critics say it would be too costly for the state to pay for a public defender system in immigration court.