State expanding program for immigrants’ free legal services

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State leaders have announced a $10 million expansion to a two-year-old program that provides free legal services for immigrants.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, all Democrats, announced Friday that the funding for the Liberty Defense Project is included in the new $175.5 billion state budget that the Legislature passed on Monday.

Launched in 2017, the program includes free legal screenings for immigrants, representation at deportation proceedings and assistance with submitting documents.

The announcement comes a day after the Cuomo administration announced 19 attorneys have been selected to serve as full-time legal counsels providing free services to immigrants at locations in all regions of New York state.

State officials say the programs are a response to the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration.

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