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Documented Article 4.24.2023_Image Source NYLAG

Documented: Migrants Struggle to Find Lawyers to Meet One Year Deadline to File for Asylum

NYLAG’s Jodi Ziesemer spoke with Documented about the demand for free legal services for asylum-seekers in New York City, one year after thousands were bussed to the city from other states.

“This spring marks one year since the arrival of more than 55,000 asylum seekers in NYC — many of whom were bussed to the city by political leaders from other states. The increase of arrivals has placed added pressure on the many organizations providing the services. 

“Every month the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has been partnering with local organizations to host clinics in public spaces, primarily in communities that have seen an increase in school enrollees and in areas near public shelters that house recently arrived migrants, said Jodi Ziesemer, director of the Immigrant Protection Unit at NYLAG. 

“Ziesemer says that during clinics their staff and volunteers help anywhere from 25 to 30 families — upwards of 80 individuals — with screening services. She added that demand is usually three times higher than their capacity to provide services. ‘Last month we had a cap of 25 families, but 96 families had signed up, so we had a wait list,’ she said. Ziesmer said that prioritizing families near the one-year deadline of filing their case with immigration court feels like playing catch up. ‘It’s like we are running on a treadmill.’” 

Read the full piece by Rommel H. Ojeda in Documented from April 24, 2023. 

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