A broad coalition of elected officials, advocacy organizations, and impacted families have launched the Campaign for Access, Representation, and Equity (CARE) for Immigrant Families, to pass the Access to Representation Act (S999/A170). The bill will guarantee access to lawyers for immigrants at risk of deportation in New York. Sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, the legislation would be the first in the nation to create a statewide right to a lawyer for people facing deportation who cannot afford representation, whether they have recently arrived in the state or have been New Yorkers for decades.
Immigrants targeted by federal enforcement for deportation do not have the right to a lawyer if they cannot afford one even though the stakes could not be higher: permanent separation from families and communities and a return to dangerous conditions in another country. Our immigration system is nearly impossible to navigate without counsel, and legal assistance should not depend upon the ability to afford it.
The campaign is supported by a statewide coalition including the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Immigrant ARC, the Vera Institute of Justice, and over 100 organizations, legal service providers, labor unions, faith groups, and elected officials. The bill is part of a coordinated effort to ensure New York State advances universal representation and fully funds legal and social services for people facing deportation in the state. Universal representation has wide support in New York: more than nine out of ten New Yorkers support government-funded representation for immigrants facing deportation.
The Access to Representation Act will mandate that the State appoint a lawyer to anyone in New York who is at risk of deportation, and meets income requirements. The law will also guarantee stable funding streams for immigration legal services, easing uncertainty on both the legal representatives and their clients.
NY must pass the first-in-the-nation Access to Representation Act to ensure a right to counsel for all immigrants facing deportation in New York (S.999/A.0170) and guarantee that no one must defend themselves against a trained government lawyer alone to protect themselves and their families from deportation.
Dina was able to win her asylum case because of the legal support Neighbors Link offered. Like Dina, hundreds of NYers need this representation in an immigration court. It's time to pass the #AccesstoRepresentation Act!
Stay up-to-date with the CARE campaign and find out about our latest actions.