April 06, 2019

Immigration attorneys are available to help immigrants across state


Governor Cuomo has announced that 19 full-time attorneys, working in conjunction with Office for New Americans Opportunity Centers, have been selected to provide free legal services to immigrants in every region of New York State.

The New York State Office for New Americans, founded six years ago, is the nation's first statutorily created immigrant services office. ONA has Opportunity Centers across the State that are hosted in community-based organizations that deliver a host of services and support, including legal services, to New York's new American communities. These sites are the focal point for communities to embrace immigrants by providing them with the tools necessary to thrive and contribute to our state.

In 2017, Governor Cuomo launched the Liberty Defense Project - the first-in-the-nation, state-led public-private project - to assist immigrants regardless of status in obtaining access to legal services. The project is administered by ONA and run in partnership with law firms, legal associations, advocacy organizations, major colleges and universities and bar associations.

The LDP provides:

Free legal consultations and screenings for immigrants throughout New York State;

Direct representation to immigrants in deportation proceedings as well as other cases;

Assistance with other immigration legal services, particularly for complex matters; and

Know Your Rights training for immigrants and the community at large.

 
The attorneys will located as follows:
  • Capital Region - Women's Bar Association Legal Project, Inc. (2 attorneys)
  • North Country - Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society (2 attorneys)
  • Mohawk Valley - Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society (2 attorneys)
  • Central New York - Frank H. Hiscock Legal Aid Society (2 attorneys)
  • Southern Tier - Journey's End Refugee Services (2 attorneys)
  • Finger Lakes - Journey's End Refugee Services (2 attorneys)
  • Western New York - Journey's End Refugee Services (2 attorneys)
  • Hudson Valley - Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York (2 attorneys)
  • Long Island - New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) (1 attorney)
  • New York City - New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) (2 attorneys)
ONA Legal Counsels will travel within their regions to meet the needs of immigrants in their communities. Services will be available at legal clinics at community-based organizations within each region. Direct representation for clients in need of assistance will be available, and ONA Legal Counsels will also conduct legal seminars and workshops. Grantees will provide translation and interpretation services for non-English-speaking new American clients.
 
ONA Legal Counsels will provide direct representation to immigrants in immigration-related proceedings using a "universal representation" model that serves any immigrant in need of legal representation in New York State.
 
Each ONA Legal Counsel in upstate regions will provide legal representation to a caseload of 15 to 20 clients at a time. Downstate ONA Legal Counsels will handle between 12 to 20 cases, depending on the specific region. Immigration legal services provided by the ONA Legal Counsel will include the following cases and services, but not be limited to:
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Asylum
  • U visas
  • T visas
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Violence Against Women Act
  • Removal proceedings, for those currently detained or not, including those with a prior order of removal
  • Work permits
  • Bond hearings
  • Board of Immigration Appeals
  • Federal litigation
  • Advanced parole
  • Family reunification
  • Family-based immigration
  • Complex naturalization
  • Family guardianship
All services provided will be offered at no charge to clients.
 
Any immigrant that needs free legal assistance is urged to call the New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636. All call information is confidential. Assistance is available in 200+ languages.

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