NYC immigrants facing deportation will get public defenders under first-of-its-kind program

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Poor New York City immigrants who otherwise would have faced the complicated immigration system with its threat of deportation on their own will now get legal representation to help them. It's due to a program advocates say is the first of its kind in the country.

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project will cover all eligible immigrant city residents detained in the system and appearing in immigration courts in New York City or the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth and Newark.

Lawmakers approved $4.9 million for the initiative as part of the $75 billion budget passed early Thursday covering the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

There is no guaranteed right to representation in the immigration system as there is in the criminal justice system.