New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has earmarked more than $16 million in city taxpayer funds to pay for lawyers to help illegal immigrants fight deportation as part of his 2018 budget.
The money is to be used to pay for “legal representation for immigrant New Yorkers facing deportation and other immigration challenges,” the mayor’s office said as he released his proposal Wednesday.
Mr. DeBlasio’s move follows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s promise of $10 million in taxpayer funds earmarked for the same purpose statewide.
Immigrant-rights groups cheered the mayor’s proposal, calling it an “unprecedented” amount of cash.
“At a time when immigrants are under senseless attack by the federal government, this is still our New York: a city made strong by its diversity,” said Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
The University of California system has already said it would provide legal help for students snared by their unauthorized status in the U.S., and California lawmakers are looking to designate cash for lawyers more broadly.