Access to Representation Act Proposed Would Aid Immigrants
Two New York State lawmakers are proposing the 'Access to Representation Act' which would guarantee legal help for low-income immigrants in New York State who face deportation. The bill is sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman
(D-27) of Manhattan and Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-39) of Queens, both Democrats.
According to the bill language, the law would establish a "universal right to counsel" for indigent New Yorkers who are subject to removal proceedings under federal immigration laws. In addition, "the state (would) establish a dedicated fund, and appropriate sufficient sums...to allow for the provision of legal services to covered individuals."
"This legislation would help ensure appropriate funding for immigration
legal services and remove these common barriers so that immigrant New
Yorkers can access counsel, regardless of their income, language, or
geographic location" reads a portion of the bill memo.
The submitted bill memo goes on to state a study by the American
Immigration Council which shows 44% of represented immigrants were given a
custody hearing, compared to 18% of unrepresented immigrants. Additionally, 44% of
represented immigrants were released from custody, compared to 11% of unrepresented immigrants, the memo states.
The legislation currently has 26 co-sponsors.