Thursday, September 21, 2017
The Upstander

New York Legal Aid Workers Vow to Fight For Immigrant Rights Under Trump

Editors December 1, 2016 Immigration, News Comments Off on New York Legal Aid Workers Vow to Fight For Immigrant Rights Under Trump

Legal advocacy groups in New York have stepped up to say they will support the city’s immigrants in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise election victory on November 8.

“In this time, when the word immigrant gets thrown left and right with negative connotations, I say I am proud to be an immigrant. We’re going to fight this!” said Luis Mancheno, a teaching fellow at the Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic, which advocates for immigration reform.

Cardozo was speaking at NYU’s Immigrant Rights Teach-In and Know Your Rights Presentation at NYU Law School on November 28.

The xenophobic rhetoric of Trump’s anti-immigration campaign has resulted in over 700 incidents of intimidation across the country since the election, targeting minorities and immigrants, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“As we said, we are here to fight back,” said Talia Peleg, team leader in the Immigration Unit at Brooklyn Defender Services, a public defender office that represents more than 40,000 Brooklyn residents every year. “There are a lot of resources in New York and in the country,” she added.

Immigrants who are detained in deportation proceedings typically have to pay for their own lawyer or find one that will work pro bono. New York is the only place in the country to offer a program—the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project—that provides lawyers for detained immigrants facing deportation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also plans to set up a legal defense fund for immigrants who fear prosecution under a Trump administration.

Outside of New York, there are a number of other non-profits that provide legal services. For more information go to

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