Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Council Wants Mayor to Continue Funding Program That Provides Free Legal Representation to Detained Immigrants

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TWC News: Council Wants Mayor to Continue Funding Program That Provides Free Legal Representation to Detained Immigrants
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The City Council is asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to continue funding a program which provides free legal representation to detained immigrants who otherwise could not afford legal help.

The pilot program, called New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, is the first of its kind in the country.

The city funded it with $500,000 last year.

This year, the city council included $2.9 million in additional funding in its proposed budget, but it was not included in the mayor's proposed budget.

The Mayor's Office says the program will be discussed during budget negotiations with the Council.

"These minor infractions, you have families that are being ripped apart. The primary caregiver is being taken away, and I think that's not something that we wanted to contribute to," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "This is something that definitely, we would like to see expanded so that everyone who is at the Varick Street Facility is getting some level of legal representation."

So far, 190 people received representation through the program.

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