NYIFUP is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation. Since 2014 every detained immigrant in New York City whose income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and who is not otherwise represented is provided a lawyer at the Varick Street immigration court. Representation is also provided for all detained New York City residents whose cases are heard in New Jersey.

NYIFUP also has been running pilot representation projects at the Batavia (since 2014) and Ulster (since 2015) immigration courts in upstate New York. With additional funding, NYIFUP will guarantee that no immigrant in New York State is locked up and deported without being represented.

Funding for NYIFUP in New York City is provided by the New York City Council.  In upstate New York, the funding is provided by the New York State Assembly and Senate. 

NYIFUP is a collaborative of Vera, the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, The Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York, and the Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School. Representation is provided in New York City by Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, and the Legal Aid Society; at Batavia by the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Erie County Bar Association; and at Ulster by Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.

Vera is also a founding member of the California Coalition for Universal Representation, which urges California’s state and local governments to create publicly-funded programs to provide counsel to detained immigrants in deportation proceedings who cannot afford a lawyer.

Providing legal counsel decreases detention time for immigrants and increases court effectiveness, thus saving taxpayer dollars and maximizing due process. In turn, helping families stay together increases their social and economic stability, thereby reducing long-term financial cost on state and city services.