Public Advocate Letitia James is calling on New York City lawyers to help represent unaccompanied children in federal immigration cases pro bono, or for free, the Observer reports.
New York has become second only to Texas in the number of immigrant children arriving unaccompanied across the border, said James.
Not only is she and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito calling on the city to identify locations where the children can be housed, but James is helping to set up monthly clinics to train attorneys who would like to volunteer to represent the children in federal immigration court.
This will include a “help desk” in federal court to provide the children with resources and representation, and James said she will also represent a few of the children for free.
“As the public advocate and an attorney, previously worked of the Legal Aid Society, I will also serve as an attorney in this capacity, pro bono,” said James at a press conference on the City Hall steps Tuesday.
“In my mind, this situation is a humanitarian and refugee issue — not an immigration issue,” James said.