America’s immigration laws are extraordinarily complex, making the price of admission high, unjust, and inhumane.
As non-citizens, immigrants have no right to appointed counsel, and most cannot afford to hire their own attorney. Having an attorney is the difference between being allowed to stay in this country and being denied a most basic premise of our constitution – due process of law.
Immigration status is directly linked with economic well-being. For example, immigrants and their children make up nearly half of those living in poverty in New York City – more than 800,000 people – and non-citizens experience poverty at much higher rates than the city overall.
Detention and deportation practices have exacerbated these challenges. Legal assistance provided by lawyers or trained legal advocates is the most direct intervention available to help lift immigrant families out of poverty. Legal assistance can facilitate immigrants’ transition to valid legal status, which enables them to obtain lawful employment, receive financial aid and in-state tuition to attend school (thus improving their earning potential), access health insurance and, if necessary, obtain temporary benefits such as food and income support. Preventing detention and deportation keeps immigrant children from being funneled into foster care or suffering the educational and health complications of family separation.
Since 2014, IJC has assisted over 60,000 immigrants including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Resident spouses, parents and children.
Our Justice Fellows have opened more than 5,000 complex cases and 93% of closed cases have successful outcomes, avoiding deportation and separation of families.
Community Fellows have filed more than 4,880 fee waiver applications and saved low-income clients nearly $3.2 million in fees.