NYS lawmakers have a bill to fund $55 million for immigrant legal services

Two Albany Democrats from New York City want taxpayers to collect up to $300 million in legal fees to help illegal immigrants fight deportation – despite fears it will also help potentially “dangerous people”. could stay in the country.

“We have a moral obligation to ensure that new Americans have legal representation. Otherwise, there is a good chance they would be sent back to their country of origin without an attorney and could face dire circumstances, including death,” State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said of the legislation he is co-parenting with promotes Congressman Catalina Cruz (D-ladies).

Lawmakers estimate the effort would cost $300 million once fully funded, and backers are pushing for a $55 million down payment next year.

But critics say the law could harm public safety and the state’s bottom line if enacted, especially as New York City is already grappling with an estimated $1 billion in costs related to the flood of asylum-seeking migrants are connected, which have been shipped here from the southern border since May.

“Many of the deportations that occur in New York State occur because an undocumented person commits an underlying crime unrelated to their immigration and is subsequently flagged by ICE,” said Senator James Skoufis (D- Newburgh) to The Post.

“It is of particular concern that this law extends public funding to these situations that would keep potentially dangerous people in New York State,” he said.

Brad Hoylman stands
State Senator Brad Hoylman says illegal immigrants deserve free legal aid in the interests of fairness.
Getty Images

The proposal would help any detained migrant who meets certain criteria – regardless of what criminal convictions led to a deportation procedure.

“With a looming financial crisis and a mass exodus of New Yorkers to other states, the last thing we need is to foot the bill for a problem we are not responsible for,” said New York City Councilman Bob Holden (D- Queens).

Federal immigration officials have highlighted in recent years how state and city protection laws have blocked efforts to deport people whose criminal records indicate a potential threat to public safety.

Other Democratic and Republican officials say spending millions on immigration attorneys will undermine efforts to get President Biden to address the costs associated with the flood of migrants being sent to New York from places like Texas by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the city of El Paso, and the federal government itself.

New York City is currently struggling to get federal aid to cover more than $600 million in costs that have caused thousands of migrants arriving in New York City to seek asylum.

“New York State and New York City are in the midst of a budget crisis. If the federal government wants to pay for it, then fine,” said Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) about the renewed push by Hoylman and Cruz.

Powerful advocacy groups are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to back the idea along with $100 million in state budget funds, which are due April 1.

“Without access to legal counsel, immigrants are much more likely to lose their legal cases, be separated from loved ones and be pushed back to countries where they live where their lives and livelihoods could be at risk,” Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director said of the New York Immigration Coalition, a key player in efforts to legalize driver’s licenses for undocumented migrants, at a news conference Wednesday in Manhattan.

Murad Awawdeh is standing
Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, says NYS should fund legal advice for people fighting deportation.
LightRocket via Getty Images

“Everyone deserves an attorney by their side to help them understand their legal options and constitutional rights in a complex and daunting system,” Cruz said.

Newly elected Gov. Kathy Hochul, who beat Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin by a single digit, also showed on Wednesday her willingness to pay court costs by announcing $3 million for nonprofits that help newly arrived migrants on their political petitions help asylum.

However, the governor declined to take a definitive position on sensitive issues while running for a full term and has typically refrained from commenting on bills before the legislature.

Catalina Cruz stands
Illegal immigrants deserve legal aid fighting deportation, regardless of their criminal convictions, says Rep. Catalina Cruz.
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A spokeswoman did not comment Wednesday whether the governor will support the bill to provide legal assistance to the much larger group of illegal immigrants.

A Hochul spokeswoman Wednesday did not immediately respond to criticism that the proposed law could help convicted criminals stay in the United States

“We should reject the notion that some immigrants earn more than others. We’re talking about parents, business owners, and longtime neighbors,” Cruz said of those who are in the United States illegally.

Colleagues on both sides of the aisle say they will still defeat the bill in the legislative session that begins next month.

Kathy Hochul is standing
Some Albany Democrats want Gov. Kathy Hochul to back more money for immigrant legal services.
Dennis A Clark

“The utter failure of the Democrats on border security and immigration should not result in a $300 million tax on New Yorkers. We’ve seen similar proposals in the past and thankfully they didn’t go anywhere,” Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay (R-Pulaski) said.

With Hochul now developing her budget plans, Barclay said she had a chance to demonstrate a shift from far-left progressive positions on thorny issues like immigration after a closer-than-expected race against Zeldin.

“Last year, New York City’s Radical Democrats wanted noncitizens to vote in local elections. Now they expect the public to spend hundreds of millions to provide free deportation lawyers. Your political statements do not have to be included in the government spending plan.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/30/nys-legislators-have-a-bill-to-fund-55m-in-legal-services-for-immigrants/ NYS lawmakers have a bill to fund $55 million for immigrant legal services

JACLYN DIAZ

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