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Immigration Law

Poor NYC immigrants facing possible deportation will get free public defenders

Posted Jul 1, 2014 6:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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New York City lawmakers have approved funding to provide free public defenders to indigent immigrants facing possible deportation.

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project will be the first program to pay the complete costs for public defenders in immigration proceedings, the New York Times and the Associated Press report. The project will cover poor city residents in immigration court in New York City and the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth and Newark.

The Vera Institute of Justice is overseeing the program.

The hope is that the federal government will eventually fund public defenders for poor immigrants in immigration proceedings, according to Oren Root, director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Immigration. “Ultimately this cannot be solved nationwide jurisdiction by jurisdiction,” he told AP.

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