Individuals facing deportation would have a statutory right to a lawyer if they can’t afford one under legislation introduced Wednesday.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who is sponsoring the legislation, said immigrants with attorneys are more likely to win their case compared to those without. Under the current system, his office says people facing deportation must depend on nonprofit attorneys or go up against the judicial system by themselves.
“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,” the Manhattan Democrat said in a statement.
State Assembly member Catalina Cruz, a supporter of the bill, said thousands of immigrants across the state face possible deportation but do not have a meaningful chance to be heard.
“They are our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones,” she said in a statement. “Our nation was and is built on their backs, and they have built their lives on the promises of our nation.”