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New York Launches Initiative to Protect Illegal Immigrants from Fraudsters
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The city of New York has launched an initiative that will help pay for immigration lawyers at nonprofit organizations who provide consultation to ‘qualified’ illegal immigrants applying for ‘deferred action.’ The initiative is in response and support of the executive order passed earlier this year by President Barrack Obama stopping the deportation of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who met certain conditions.

The conditions for being qualified for support include having arrived in the country before the age of 16, having lived here for five years, having no criminal record, and not being older than 30, and being either students, high school graduates or military veterans. The initiative is aimed at preventing fraudsters from taking advantage of those who qualify and apply for ‘deferred action’ on deportation.

The state has already allocated $600,000 to nonprofit groups to help New Yorkers become naturalized citizens. In addition, the state would be coordinating with state bar associations for improving access to pro bono lawyers and expand the state’s immigrant service hotline to include information on the new policy. The state would also be conducting programs and projects for multilingual outreach.

  
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According to the state, the plan is to prevent fraudsters from targeting a new generation of ‘qualified’ illegal immigrants. The state mentioned that only in Manhattan, most of the 2300 complaints handled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Program were about accusations of fraudulent legal assistance.

Cesar Perales, New York’s Secretary of State said that following Obama’s change in policy, “We need to make sure these young people are not taken advantage of as they seek to come out of the shadows and contribute to our society … We need to make sure we onboard people properly without exposing people in their households that may be vulnerable.”

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