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Campaign Updates

10/29/2013 | Creating Deportation Defense

New York Immigrant Family Unity Project - The Report

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project:
Good for Families, Good for Employers, and Good for All New Yorkers

Each year, thousands of New Yorkers — parents, siblings, employers, workers and students — face detention and the possibility of deportation without the assistance of legal counsel. These New Yorkers are isolated from their loved ones and confront the possibility of long-term and, in some cases, permanent separation from their communities.

This analysis demonstrates that New York State can dramatically reduce the emotional and economic cost of the detention and deportation system by providing high-quality legal counsel for detained immigrants who are facing deportation through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP). For an annual investment of $7.4 million – or 78-cents per personal income taxpayer per year – NYIFUP would help ensure that deportation proceedings reflect our fundamental values, providing a measure of fairness for immigrant New Yorkers.

Download the report here.

Executive Summary

Each year, thousands of New Yorkers— parents, siblings, employers, workers and students — face detention and the possibility of deportation without the assistance of legal counsel. These New Yorkers are isolated from their loved ones and confront the possibility of long-term and, in some cases, permanent separation from their communities.

This system of detention and deportation calls our collective commitment to due process into question. Immigration proceedings share many of the same features as criminal proceedings, with immigrant New Yorkers risking their liberty and extended separation from their families and communities. Yet, unlike criminal proceedings, immigration proceedings lack basic safeguards to guarantee fairness. Most strikingly, because New Yorkers have no guaranteed access to counsel in immigration proceedings, thousands face trained government attorneys in these high-stakes proceedings every year without the benefit of legal assistance. This leads to detentions that continue for months or years longer than necessary and deportations of New Yorkers who have viable legal claims to remain in the communities they call home.

But these are not the only costs. Current policies and practices are also costly in economic terms,
resulting in significant annual outlays. Needlessly long detentions and avoidable deportations burden Empire State employers, New York State government, immigrant families and, ultimately, New Yorkers as a whole.

This analysis demonstrates that New York State can dramatically reduce these costs by providing highquality legal counsel for detained immigrants who are facing deportation through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP). For an annual investment of $7.4 million – or 78-cents per personal income taxpayer per year – NYIFUP would help ensure that deportation proceedings reflect our fundamental values, providing a measure of fairness for immigrant New Yorkers.

The program would generate nearly $1.9 million in annual savings to New York State by reducing spending on public health insurance programs and foster care services and capturing tax revenues that would otherwise be lost. In addition, NYIFUP would produce $4 million in savings for Empire State employers each year, by preventing turnover-related costs stemming from detentions and deportations. Taken together, these savings offset the majority of the investment needed to establish the program.

-New York State employers pay an estimated $9.1 million in turnover-related costs annually as they are forced to replace detained or deported employees. NYIFUP would save employers $4 million in such costs each year.
-The detention or deportation of a parent makes it difficult for some students to complete school, limiting their long-term earning potential, increasing reliance on public health insurance programs and decreasing tax revenues. Over 10 years of the NYIFUP program, this would translate into $3.1 million in annualized costs to the state each year. NYIFUP would save New York over $1.3 million in such costs each year.
-Detentions and deportations cost New York’s State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) about $685,000 each year. NYIFUP would save the state over $310,000 per year in such costs.
-The state pays over $562,000 a year to provide foster care for the children of detained or deported New Yorkers. NYIFUP would reduce these costs by over $263,000 each year.

Few investments have the potential to yield such far-reaching returns. We urge New York State to seize the opportunity to create a first-in-the-nation, statewide system of universal representation for individuals who are detained and facing deportation. Doing so will produce $5.9 million in savings each year to New York State and employers, ensure that the system lives up to our most closely-held ideals and help to keep Empire State families whole.