We defend the Bronx.

New York Immigrant Family Unity Project

New York Immigrant Family Unity Project

NYIFUP is the first public defender program in the country for low-income people in immigration detention.

Under current law, low-income people in immigration detention do not have a right to an attorney if they can’t afford one. Studies have found that 97% of detained immigrants without legal representation are unsuccessful in challenging their deportation. Access to counsel, on the other hand, can improve the chance of winning a deportation case by as much as 1000%.

Funded by the New York City Council, the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) provides free, high-quality legal representation to every low-income immigrant facing deportation in the City of New York, as well as to detained New Yorkers facing deportation in the nearby immigration courts in New Jersey. The project first piloted in 2013 and was granted full funding in 2014.

NYIFUP is implemented jointly by three public-defender organizations: The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, and Brooklyn Defender Services. Through NYIFUP, these three providers ensure universal immigration representation regardless of income, criminal history, or relief eligibility. If relief is not possible, our immigration attorneys remain by a client’s side to ensure due process, safeguard rights for future attempts at admission, and help facilitate voluntary departure.  If relief against removal is available to a client, NYIFUP staff files all necessary applications, seeks release from detention on bond, and litigates the cases to trial and, when necessary, before the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Did you know?

It was a NYIFUP case, Lora v. Shanahan, which established in the Second Circuit that immigration detention beyond six months without a bond hearing is unconstitutional.

NYIFUP keeps immigrant families together and helps noncitizens exercise their rights in these critical court proceedings. By reducing the number of self-represented litigants, the program helps the immigration court work more fairly and efficiently. By advocating for release on bond and reducing the amount of time our clients spend in ICE custody, we lower the social and economic costs of homelessness, foster care, and unemployment created by immigration detentions and avoidable deportations.

Local elected officials in cities such as Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have replicated the NYIFUP model to protect the due process rights of their constituents and stand in solidarity with immigrant communities against dragnet deportations and other abusive practices.

To learn more about our Immigration Practice at The Bronx Defenders, click here.