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New York launches Liberty Defense Project to protect all immigrants

Staff Writer | March 24, 2017
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched the nation’s first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative called the Liberty Defense Project.
Empire State   The immigrant legal defense initiative
This is in response to the surge in demand for help that is overwhelming nonprofit organizations serving immigrants.

The partnership will be supported by more than $1 million in funding to provide legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York State, regardless of their residency status, through a network of pro bono attorneys, law students and legal professionals.

The initiative is a public-private partnership between the New York Department of State, two dedicated philanthropic allies—the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation— and a statewide coalition of 182 advocacy organizations and legal entities.

Private sector law firms, legal departments at universities, bar associations and advocacy organizations, will be coordinated by the State’s Office for New Americans to provide pro bono legal and additional resources for immigrants threatened by recent changes in immigration policies.

“New York is a beacon of hope and opportunity for all, and immigrants have always been part of the fabric of this great state,” Governor Cuomo said.

“During these stormy times, it’s critical all New Yorkers have access to their full rights under the law.

“The first-of-its-kind Liberty Defense Project will provide legal support to protect immigrants and ensure this state is living up to the values embodied by the Lady in our Harbor.”