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City Bar Justice Center to Open Administrative Dream Act Immigration Project

Friday, August 10, 2012

  • By: Carol Bockner
  • Organization: City Bar Justice Center

The City Bar Justice Center will be coordinating an Administrative Dream Act Immigration Pro Bono Project in response to the announcement by the Obama Administration of the availability of Deferred Action as an avenue of relief for certain undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

The City Bar Justice Center has been concerned with the problems of New York’s children growing up without a secure immigration status.  The Justice Center’s immigration projects have worked with pro bono attorneys to use naturalization, family petitions, asylum, U and T visas as well as remedies in removal and detention cases to help families.

Now the legal community has what may be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to help undocumented immigrant youth obtain a status which will permit them to work and go on to higher education.

New York is distinctive from the rest of the country in terms of the pool eligible for this avenue for relief.  Not surprisingly, the potential eligibles in New York are estimated to come from a diverse pool whereas in most of the country the pool is overwhelmingly Mexican.  Reaching the potential pool and matching them with competent pro bono legal assistance in a timely fashion before they age out of the eligibility period should be the focus of efforts.

According to a July 31, 2012 report from the Immigration Policy Center, there are 70,170 potential claimants in New York State who may be eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth who were brought to this country as children. New York has the fourth largest concentration of eligible applicants and the largest percentage, 79%, who are immediately eligible with 21% aging into eligibility.  The age window for eligibility at time of application is between the ages of 15 and 30.

The New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales convened a meeting at the City Bar for local bar leaders over the summer and is gearing up to provide technical support for upstate and smaller bar associations who would like to host clinics.  Many of the immigration legal service providers are also scheduling clinics and opportunities for pro bono volunteers.

The City Bar Justice Center’s efforts will kick-off with a training for pro bono attorneys at the City Bar on September 4 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.followed by the three clinics this fall to assist requesters.  The training class is filling so if you are interested please contact Fragomen Fellow Barbara Camacho at bcamacho@nycbar.org.

Picture of invite for CBJC training

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