In Their Own Words Learning from NYIFUP Clients about the Value of Representation

In their own words sq


Immigrants are part of the fabric of New York—one in three children in the state has an immigrant parent, more than 280,000 immigrants own businesses, and immigrants make up more than one quarter of the state’s civilian workforce. Universal representation programs like the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) are one crucial component of building an immigration system that promotes fairness and respect and welcomes our immigrant neighbors. This brief features firsthand accounts from NYIFUP clients who were detained and fought, or are continuing to fight, their cases in New York immigration courts. Vera interviewed nine clients to learn about their experiences working with their immigration defense teams as well as the challenges they faced.

Key Takeaway

Three themes emerged from these conversations: partnering with an immigration attorney brings hope and the chance at freedom and success, caring legal teams help identify needed supports beyond the immigration case, and system barriers persist while confronting an inhumane and unfair system.

Publication Highlights

  • NYIFUP clients who were isolated from their families and communities while in ICE detention felt more informed, safe, and heard when they had dedicated lawyers.

  • Representation is critical to mitigating the harm caused by immigration enforcement and detention that routinely upends people’s lives and destabilizes communities.

  • Partnering with an immigration attorney can help people see a path to release from detention and/or remaining in the United States—and thus restore a sense of hope.