New York City's newest budget includes enough money to pay the legal fees for about 1,380 illegal immigrants who are detained and facing deportation.
Within the budget is a $4.9 million set-aside for the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, a program that just wrapped a one-year test phase and was deemed a success by City Council, Breitbart reported. Under the program, taxpayers help cover the legal expenses for illegals in jail who should be deported, but are fighting it.
The city's renewal of the plan makes it the first jurisdiction in the nation with a tax-paid disbursement dedicated solely to helping illegals face and fight their deportation proceedings, Breitbart said.
What's even more notable is the deportation proceedings aren't criminal in nature — they're civil — so the suspect's constitutional right to a public defender does not apply.
"Immigrants can be locked up in exactly the same facilities, they come into the court shackled, have to face trained lawyers, and the stakes are really high," said Peter Moskowitz, a professor at Cardozo School of Law's Immigrant Justice Clinic and a leading proponent of the Family Unity Project, Breitbart reported.
"They're looking at being exiled from their homes and their families, but as far as the current interpretation of the Constitution goes, they are not afforded the same right to counsel," he said.
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