Saying that immigrants are under attack because of President-elect Donald Trump, a coalition of pols and immigration lawyers on Monday announced $250,000 in state funds to go towards legal services for people fighting deportations.
The money will go to the Vera Institute of Justice’s New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, which reps indigent immigrants in court and increases the chances that they won’t be deported by 1000%.
“I think everyone knows the hateful rhetoric that took place when it came to our immigrant communities throughout this last campaign,” said State Sen. Jeff Klein, who announced the funding along with other members of the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference.
Prior to NYIFUP’s creation in 2103, Angela Fernandez, the executive director and a lawyer with the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, said her group received “countless” calls from people asking for help because they were facing deportation.
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Those calls stopped for a while, but since Trump won the White House, they have begun to increase, she said.
“We are getting hundreds of calls from immigrants who are petrified,” she said.
Officials said the people they are helping are often facing deportation because of minor issues, and the program’s high success rate shows many are being kicked out even though they have a right to stay.
Those with major crimes and lengthy criminal histories aren’t eligible for the representation.
“We are not advocating for rapists, thieves, and serious offenses,” said State Sen. Marisol Alcantara, who reps an immigrant-heavy district in northern and western Manhattan.