On November 19, attorneys, social workers and managers from all three of The Legal Aid Society's practice areas met to re-ignite the Society's inter practice Re-Entry Task Force. The Task Force discussed issues affecting the over 300,000 clients served by the Society, especially those who are incarcerated or have recently re-entered communities and who are struggling with housing, employment and benefits. The Task Force will continue to meet on a quarterly basis and have developed subcommittees to work on implementing the many great ideas that were generated at this meeting.
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On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced several new programs to protect approximately 4.9 million undocumented non-citizens from deportation. "The Obama Administration's decision to grant deferred action to millions of undocumented non-citizens is a humane and compassionate gesture," said Jojo Annobil, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Immigration Law Unit. "We hope this is the first step towards repairing our broken immigration laws."
Pushing for rent regulations as a means of keeping families in their homes, the Alliance for Tenant Power, a group of tenant advocates including The Legal Aid Society, held a rally at City Hall today to kick off a campaign for stronger rent laws and greater protections for clients. Assembly Member Keith Wright who chairs the Assembly Housing Committee, said that "rent regulation is not about punishing property owners. It is about doing the right thing so New Yorkers can stay in their homes."
Rikers has gained a reputation for violence committed by corrections officers and fellow inmates. Kim Forte of Legal Aid said that transgender women are especially at risk. "Just the inherent nature of being a trans-identified woman and being placed in a male facility, it puts you in an extreme position of vulnerability," said Forte.
From the defense side, Seymour James, attorney-in-chief at the Legal Aid Society, called the policy a "positive development." Still, he noted, "it doesn't eliminate the problem of disproportionate policing in communities of color."
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