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State Puts $38 Million Towards Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers


$38 million in new state funding is going towards bolstering New York City’s efforts to provide legal services for asylum seekers.

The newest funding announced Wednesday builds on the state’s existing $50 million commitment to casework and legal services. The funding announcement came on the same day the federal rule extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans who entered the country before July 31st took effect.

To coincide with the new federal rule taking, the city started assisting eligible Venezuelan asylum seekers submit their paper applications for TPS and work authorization, in addition to their fee waiver forms at the city’s Asylum Application Help Center, which is also funded by State resources. In the coming weeks, the City and State will scale these efforts, expanding case management and legal services to help more asylum seekers in the city’s care obtain work authorization, stabilize their lives, and provide for themselves so they can move out of shelter.   

The city and state also plan to partner to expand access to legal and casework services by:  

  • Opening additional Asylum Application Help Center satellite sites across the city;   
  • Launching roving teams within the city’s emergency shelter sites to help asylum seekers apply on the spot for TPS and work authorization; and  
  • Scheduling those who enter the shelter system and are eligible for TPS for appointments to immediately apply upon entering the city’s care.  

“For more than a year, the State and City have worked side-by-side to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis we’re experiencing,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “After months of coordinated advocacy from New Yorkers, the federal government has made thousands of migrants from Venezuela newly-eligible for Temporary Protected Status. Our job now is to ensure these individuals fill out all the appropriate paperwork so they can attain work authorization, find a job, and exit taxpayer-funded shelter.”

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