As if it doesn’t have enough issues to throw money at, “New York City is now the first jurisdiction in the country with a public defender system dedicated solely to providing free legal council to every poor, detained immigrant facing deportation.”
The city recently passed a $4.9 million budget to fund the program designated the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. The launch comes afte ra one-year trial run the city claimed was successful. The funds will cover about 1,380 currently detained immigrants facing deportation.
Given that deportation proceedings are a civil matter and not a criminal one, this is not a Constitutional issue. The same right to counsel does not apply. However, New York City is now going make legal resident taxpayers pay to provide it, whether they like it, or not.
“Immigrants can be locked up in exactly the same facilities, they come into the court shackled, have to face trained lawyers, and the stakes are really high,” said Peter Moskowitz, a professor at Cardozo School of Law’s Immigrant Justice Clinic who helped facilitate the study and create the Family Unity Project. “They’re looking at being exiled from their homes and their families, but as far as the current interpretation of the constitution goes, they are not afforded the same right to counsel.”