NY1's Clodagh McGowan Features New York Immigrant Family Unit of LAS

The Legal Aid Society's Immigrant Family Unit was featured by NY1. In addition to providing representation to undocumented immigrant families, the Society is also sponsoring informational sessions for immigrants who fear deportation.

New York 1
Legal Aid Society Provides Support to Undocumented Immigrants in Queens
By Clodagh McGowan
ovember 25, 2016

Queens is home to a large concentration of undocumented immigrants. With a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new presidential administration’s plans for deportation, the Legal Aid Society is providing counsel. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

"There's a lot of alarm. People feel anxious. I have constituents that don't know if they should just move now and not wait to be deported. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered," said Ferreras-Copeland.

The Legal Aid Society is one group working to answer some of those questions. The society runs the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP). It's a city council funded initiative that guarantees legal counsel for immigrants going through the deportation process.

"It's not like criminal court where you're guaranteed an attorney to defend your rights. If you're facing removal, there's no right to counsel," said Hasan Shafiqullah, a supervising attorney, with the Legal Aid Society.

Advocates say one of their biggest concerns, is whether Trump would reverse the 2012 executive order that gave temporary protection to kids who arrived before the age of 16 and had no criminal convictions.

"President-elect Trump has said that one of the first things he intends to do in his first hundred days is to end any executive orders that were promulgated by the Obama administration. And deferred action for childhood arrivals is one of the big ones. So there's a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety right now," said Shafiqullah.

In the meantime, the Legal Aid Society plans on hosting forums throughout the city to make sure undocumented immigrants are aware of their rights.

Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio vowed to protect New Yorkers against any campaign proposals the city finds unacceptable, by continuing to provide legal assistance.