Defending New York City's Immigrants

Each and every day, The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit stands with immigrant communities across New York City, fighting to protect their rights, keep families together and push back against the destructive policies coming out of Washington.

For our clients, the cost of filing immigration applications can be a heavy burden with governmental filing fees of hundreds of dollars. As the government threatens to make it risky to seek fee waivers, The Legal Aid Society is assisting our immigrant families with the payment of these fees, and is asking our most loyal supporters and friends to stand with us.

Your donation will have a direct impact, helping immigrant New Yorkers secure their status and remain at home with their families.

 
 Edisson Barros is pictured with his daughter Paola at her high school graduation.    Photo courtesy of Paola Barros/GoFundMe

Edisson Barros is pictured with his daughter Paola at her high school graduation. 

Photo courtesy of Paola Barros/GoFundMe

 

A Message from Adriene Holder

The Legal Aid Society is coordinating a rapid legal response effort to meet the needs of our immigrant clients during these dangerous times.  As we have for years, our staff and attorneys are working every day in courts and communities to ensure that the dream of equal access to justice becomes a reality. Our work transcends any one case, aims to serve whole communities of vulnerable New Yorkers, and is a national model for holistic civil legal defense.  

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Adriene Holder

Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice

Whether we are addressing the current situation involving the separation of children from their families as they seek refuge or asylum from violence, or running to federal court to stay the imminent deportation of immigrants rounded up by ICE, The Legal Aid Society stands ready to fight on behalf of our immigrant client communities.

The President’s immigration policies represent racist and xenophobic practices that harken back to oppressive periods in our history when people of color lacked basic civil rights under the law.  

On this page, you will find out more about the work we are doing to protect our city's immigrants and just some of the ways you can help. We have been working on the front-lines of this fight since the first day of President Trump’s administration, and we will continue to go above and beyond for poor and powerless immigrants across our city.

I’m proud to work alongside our attorneys as we fight to defend the civil and human rights of our client communities, and correct the narrative. 

 

The latest on Immigration:

We will do our best to keep you updated as the legal battles wage on and share advocacy opportunities.  

Standing with Immigrants

 
 

Family Separation

What You Need To Know About The Executive Order

Although the President signed an Executive Order seemingly retreating from his inhumane and cruel policy of separating immigrant families seeking asylum, his actions have in fact further entrenched his war on immigrants. 

The Executive Order attempts to overrule a federal settlement, Flores v. Reno, that barred the detention of immigrant children at the border for more than 20 days.  The President is trying to legalize the indefinite detention of children in detention facilities with their families – furthering the criminalization and incarceration of immigrant families.  In addition, there is no mechanism to reunite the thousands of separated children with their parents.  

We are already representing one of these children, who was arbitrarily transferred to New York, and are in discussions about how best to identify other children being placed in various facilities and reunite them with their families.  We will also be representing potential New York City sponsors for these children whose parents cannot be found, are incarcerated, or have already been deported. 

 

What You Can Do To Help

As a member of the New York Immigration Coalition, The Legal Aid Society is working alongside our community partners to mobilize a united rapid legal response effort to help those in need. You can join us as we make a difference. Read below to see just some of the ways you can support our work:

Sign a Petition

Define American: Stop Separating Mothers from Their Children
Moms Rising: Stop Separating Children from Their Parents
National Domestic Workers Alliance: Families Belong Together
United We Dream: Justice For Claudia
Women's March: End Family Separation
Women's Refugee Commission: Keep Families Together

Call Your Representative

Call Your Senator
Call Your Congressperson

Volunteer Opportunities

CARA Pro Bono Project
Powered by the American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association


Update on Pablo Villavicencio

On June 1, Pablo Villavicencio was delivering a pizza to an Army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. Even though he had delivered food to this base before, Army personnel still made Pablo undergo a background check. Pablo had been living in the U.S. since 2008 as an undocumented immigrant and, although he has no criminal record, he has had an open order of removal since 2010. ICE was called and quickly took Pablo into custody.

After a 53 day fight, The Legal Aid Society has finally forced ICE to free Pablo. On Tuesday, July 24, our staff represented Pablo in front of Judge Paul A. Crotty, granted a habeus corpus motion late Tuesday night to release Pablo and extend his stay of deportation, giving him time to secure valid immigration status. Pablo is now back home with his wife and two young daughters.

This tremendous victory not only changes the lives of Pablo and his family; it is also a rebuke of President Trump and his destructive policies. We are proud to defend New York City’s immigrant communities, and we are grateful to share this incredible win with all of those who support us. Thanks to you, we can stand steadfast for immigrants across our city.

 Pablo returned safely home to his family late Tuesday night.

Pablo returned safely home to his family late Tuesday night.

 

Our Impact

Our Immigration Law Unit is the largest of its type in the nation, creating stability in families and communities by helping immigrants across our city. Since day one of President Trump’s administration, we have worked tirelessly to defend New York City’s immigrant communities, offering educational outreach sessions, protecting individuals from deportation, and advocating against the President’s most onerous policies.

 

When President Trump signed his first unlawful Travel Ban, our staff descended on John F. Kennedy International Airport, working around the clock to protect New Yorkers from being wrongfully deported. We fought back against this cruel and unlawful policy to ensure that no one was denied their constitutional rights. Watch this video showing just how we won the release of every New Yorker detained on that night.

 
 We worked alongside our law firm partners to help more than 50 applicants re-apply before their time ran out. With the future of DACA still in question, we stand ready to defend the rights of these children.

We worked alongside our law firm partners to help more than 50 applicants re-apply before their time ran out. With the future of DACA still in question, we stand ready to defend the rights of these children.

President Trump continued to disrupt the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers earlier this year when he ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With thousands of young New Yorkers relying on DACA to protect themselves from deportation, entire communities were left at-risk.

Emboldened by the new administration, ICE agents are pursuing undocumented New Yorkers more aggressively than ever before. This year, ICE has been spotted dozens of times in and around courthouses, targeting immigrants as they testify or seek justice.

 Time and again we protested this outrageous practice and are fighting to keep ICE out of the courthouse.

Time and again we protested this outrageous practice and are fighting to keep ICE out of the courthouse.

 

Every day, across every borough, we defend immigrants from deportation. We keep families together and
ensure that every New Yorker has access to equal justice. You can support our work and make a difference today.
Donate now and join our fight for New York City's immigrants.