Yesterday morning, the state of New York made an announcement that will aid detained immigrants facing the possibility of deportation. In the state’s budget for 2018, lawmakers have granted $4 million dollars to the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP).
NYIFUP is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants who are pending deportation. Since 2014, any immigrant in New York City whose income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and lacks the presentation of a lawyer is therefore represented by a lawyer at the Varick Street immigration court. Cases whose residents reside in New Jersey are also provided representation from the court.
With this additional funding, NYIFUP will be able to guarantee that every immigrant will be represented with success.
New York has also become the first state to ensure that no family will be ripped apart solely over the fact that the member being detained and serving the possibility of deported does not have proper representation. According to Vera Institute of Justice, studies show that without counsel only 3 percent of detained and unrepresented immigrants will avoid deportation. Whereas those detained who do have counsel representation will have a 100% chance of avoiding deportation.
“This is a tremendous step toward just and fair results in deportation proceedings, ensuring that no New Yorker will be detained and deported solely because of the inability to hire a lawyer,” Oren Root, director of Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice, told ELLE.com.
Keeping immigrant families together, according to Vera, has shown that it saves money for the state’s taxpayers in increased tax revenue and less need for the families that the deportee has left behind to draw on the social safety net. New York state employers also receive economic benefit of avoiding the loss of productivity when their employees are detained and deported. This creates the need to hire new people and then proceed to train them.
Several cities and states like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, and California have recently begun to design programs similar to NYIFUP in light of the recent executive orders in relation to immigrants.