New York’s legal and shelter system are overloaded and unprepared to serve newly-arrived migrants and asylum–seekers. Jodi Ziesemer, director of NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit testified on September 30, 2022 before the NYC Council Committee on Immigration, advocating for stronger resources and services for newly-arrived asylum seekers. Ziesemer argued for a greater investment of resources into immigration attorneys across the city, pro se application assistance clinics, and non-profit legal service organizations facing a crisis with recruitment, training, and space for new attorneys.
Despite an increased demand in legal services with appropriate expertise for recently arrived immigrants, the city recently announced budget cuts to the Rapid Response Legal Collective—which NYLAG is a part of—for the next fiscal year. NYLAG’s Jodi Ziesemer spoke with CityLimits about the ramifications of this decision.