By RAYCHELLE L. BALENTIEN
The Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. announced on Thursday that they would provide legal representation to New York City immigrants who fear deportation under President Trump’s crackdown on immigration.
The Manhattan-based organization held a press conference at their headquarters in Chinatown, to announce the expansion of their legal services to all immigrants throughout Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
“The CPC will deepen our commitment to promoting a safe space for New Yorkers of all immigrant, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds,” Wayne Ho, president and CEO of the CPC, told reporters.
The addition of legal representation is the result of the CPC’s newest partnership with Advocates for Justice, an activist organization that provides lawyers for low-income families often facing racial injustice and inequality. The organization would provide legal counsel for both English and Chinese speaking immigrants.
Arthur Schwartz, the president of Advocates for Justice, partnered with the CPC in the past, when he successfully fought to extend services of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to Chinatown residents after the terrorist attacks, CPC officials said.
The CPC, since 2014, has provided free consultation and legal services to communities through partnerships with MFY Legal Services Inc., the New York Legal Assistance Group, and Immigrant Justice Corps. However the criminalizing tone towards immigrants under the Trump Administration added impetus to the efforts.
“There is increased fear among immigrants to protect themselves… and the need to offer trusted lawyers and reputable legal services to people has increased,” said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Justice Corps. She added that “the silver lining is that more immigrants are eager to become naturalized, whereas the urgency to go through the naturalizing process wasn’t there before.”