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New York City to provide lawyers for poor immigrants facing deportation

[JURIST] New York lawmakers have approved funding for a program to provide lawyers to indigent residents facing deportation hearings. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project [Bronx Defenders backgrounder] was created last year but was only funded at $500,000. Wednesday's vote by the New York City Council expands funding to $4.9 million [press release] to greatly expand the program. While defendants in the criminal justice system have the right to an attorney, there is no such right for individuals facing a complicated immigration legal system. This is the first program of its kind in the US [AP report]. Also this week, the New York Council approved a measure to provide identification cards [press release] to all city residents, including those in the country illegally.

In the absence of federal immigration reform, state governments have continued to enact various measures. Last week a Montana judge struck down [JURIST report] most of a voter-approved immigration law that required government officials to check the immigration status of anyone applying for state services. Earlier this month Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law [JURIST report] allowing undocumented students to receive in-state tuition, joining 16 other states already allowing this. In March South Carolina announced that it would comply with a court order [JURIST report] preventing it from enforcing the "show me your papers" provision of SB 20 [text]. According to the US Department of Justice the number of deportations in the US has steadily been declining [JURIST report].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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