State lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would create a legal right to a lawyer for New York residents who are facing deportation.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, was put together by the New York State Bar Association and the New York Immigration Coalition.
“Every day thousands of immigrants statewide face the possibility of deportation without due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard," Cruz said. "They are our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones. Our nation was and is built on their backs, and they have built their lives on the promises of our nation. However, if they cannot afford a lawyer, they are left to fight a complex immigration system on their own."
Low-income people who facing deportation charges are currently relying on non-profit attorneys or have to go it alone. And the bill is also meant to to end uncertainty surrounding state funding for immigrant legal services, supporters said.
“For an immigrant facing deportation, having an attorney on their case can be the difference between staying in New York or being separated from their family: Seventy-eight percent of immigrants with attorneys win their cases, while only 15 percent of immigrants without attorneys are successful," Hoylman said.