Lawmakers call for more resources to help asylum seekers with legal assistance
Jun 01, 2023, 9:28pmUpdated on Jun 01, 2023
By: News 12 Staff
Officials and lawmakers are calling for $70 million for migrant assistance in the upcoming city budget for the 2024 fiscal year. This push comes after City Comptroller Brad Lander and Council Member Shahana Hanif sent a letter to the Adams administration last month, calling for additional funds to ramp up outreach and legal immigration services.
“Our city… must be a leader in the efforts in creating a pathway towards work authorizations, housing vouchers, and other necessary resources for these individuals and families to thrive in our city,” said Hanif. “We are calling for at least $70 million in legal services for asylum seekers.”
Lawmakers say it’s important that these resources are allocated properly for outreach and legal representation as the first wave of new arrivals rapidly approaches the one-year deadline to apply for asylum.
Immigration attorney Lymari Casta says more resources are needed for the sharp rise in migrants looking to file and process asylum claims, and that challenges such as the language barrier and lack of shelter space are making it difficult to provide legal support.
“If we help these people, if we give them legal representation, they file their application, file their work permit applications… they will be contributing members of our community,” said Casta. “They will get out of shelters, rent apartments, they will contribute to the economy.”
At a briefing on Wednesday, the city did not specify how many migrants have filed for asylum but say that very few have.
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