August 19, 2016
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – The New York City Council’s Unaccompanied Minors Initiative has won 60 asylum cases and 41children have obtained lawful permanent residency.
The program was established in 2014 following children fleeing violence in Central America and provides pro-bono attorney’s for every minor who arrives in New York City. As of FY 2016, 921 cases have been accepted for representation and 101 have been concluded successfully.
“We are living up to our highest ideals by protecting these children,” said Speaker Mark-Viverito. “Across the nation too many of these children face unequal access to justice and it’s time for others to step up. Whether it is limiting our interactions with ICE, removing ICE from Rikers Island or establishing a municipal ID which is open to all regardless of immigration status, New York City is proud to have policies which treat our immigrants humanely.”
The initiative is a public-private partnership between the Council and Robin Hood and New York Community Trust. In the FY 2017 budget, the City Council, in partnership with the Administration, allocated $1.5 million to the Children Advocates' Relief Effort (ICARE) partners, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York (CCCS), Central American Legal Assistance (CALA), The Door, The Legal Aid Society (the Society), the Safe Passage Project, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Make the Road New York. This is in addition to the $1.1 million in funding provided by Robin Hood and the New York Community Trust, whose increase reflects the concern over the increased numbers of child refugees migrating to New York.
Council Immigration Chair Carlos Menchaca said: “ICARE results demonstrate that the New York City Council did the right thing in responding immediately to the high need for legal assistance for unaccompanied minors. The City Council acted fast when confronted by this humanitarian crisis by accessing city dollars. We understood that when you add competent and trustworthy lawyers to the equation, unaccompanied minors are more likely to get positive results in court.”