Right to Counsel in Immigration Court
Immigrants facing deportation are not guaranteed due process or the assistance of an attorney. Without an attorney to help navigate racist and inhumane immigration laws and zealously advocate for them in court, the majority will be unjustly deported and separated from their families. Legal representation is essential to protect immigrants’ safety and human rights.
BDS fought to make New York City the first city in the nation to publicly fund universal representation of all detained indigent immigrants in deportation proceedings through the New York Immigrant Family Unit Project (NYIFUP) established in 2014. NYIFUP's groundbreaking public defender program provides a free attorney to detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at Varick Street Immigration Court who are unrepresented at their first court appearance. Since 2014, the program has been a resourcing success, but many more face this system alone. BDS is advocating for universal representation in immigration court nationwide.