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Undocumented immigrants in New York who can’t afford a lawyer and are facing deportation will soon have access to free legal counsel.  The New York governor’s office said last week that it is allocating $10 million in its fiscal 2018 budget toward creating a legal defense fund “to ensure all immigrants, regardless of residency status, have access to representation.”

 Unlike U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants facing deportation don’t have the right to free legal counsel.

Called the Liberty Defense Project, the funding is part of a public-private partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. So far, the non-profit organizations have contributed $1.5 million, making the total funds available $11.5 million.

“During these stormy times, it’s critical that all New Yorkers have access to their full rights under the law,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said when he first announced the program for immigrants facing deportation.

The Liberty Defense Project will work with 182 advocacy groups and legal entities to provide attorneys to immigrants.

To qualify, an immigrant’s household income must be below 200% of the federal poverty line and must not already be represented by a lawyer, said Oren Root, director of immigration and justice at the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit social justice policy group based in New York City.

For more information on immigrants facing deportation,

email or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.

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