Vera Institute’s SAFE Initiative Statement on Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget Proposal for New York State

Today, Governor Hochul released her executive budget proposal for New York, which includes important provisions to fund immigration services.

The Vera Institute’s SAFE Initiative Director Annie Chen issued the following statement:

“We are encouraged to see Governor Hochul commit to increasing legal services funding for immigrant New Yorkers in the Executive budget. The proposed increased investments in the Liberty Defense Project from $10 million to $12 million and in the Office for New Americans from $6.4 million to $8 million will support those who have been hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis and promote an equitable and sustainable recovery. While this is a start, it falls short.

Increasing state budget funding for essential immigration services to $24.4 million this year – including $15.3 million for the Liberty Defense Project and $9.1 million for the Office for New Americans – would allow more New Yorkers to connect with the attorneys and services they need for fair representation and a chance to remain home, with their families and communities, in the United States. Ultimately, New York State needs to enact the Access to Representation Act to establish a permanent right to representation for all immigrants facing deportation in our state. Increased funding for legal representation is necessary to ensure New York continues to lead the way for our immigrant communities. We look forward to working with the Assembly and Senate to include the full $24.4 million in New York’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget and to enact the Access to Representation Act.”

About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit