Defending New York City's Immigrants
We Sued the Federal Government to Obtain a Temporary Restraining Order, Stopping Officials from
Removing Children Without a 48 Hour Notice to Children and their Legal Counsel.
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.
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
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
Legal Aid Society: Free Pablo Villavicencio
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
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.
Pablo, who is married to an American citizen and is the father of two, has been held in detention for more than a month. Thankfully, The Legal Aid Society has been with him every step of the way. In the days after his arrest, our staff worked through the night to stay Pablo's deportation. On Saturday, June 9th, we won an emergency stay of the deportation of Pablo Villavicencio. Although he is safe for now, Pablo still has an uphill fight.
Unfortunately, Mr. Villavicencio remains detained as his legal battle wages on, and his family suffers in his absence. We have been circulating an online petition requesting his release so he can be reunited with his family and work alongside his attorneys to fight his deportation. We will be presenting the signatures to ICE Field Office Director, Thomas R. Decker.
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.
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.
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.