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Empowering New Yorkers 
to represent themselves in Immigration Court 



Thousands of recently arrived immigrants are fighting their legal battles alone, without an attorney. Unlike in criminal court, there is no federal right to representation in immigration court, and private attorneys—most of whom charge hundreds of dollars for just an intake consultation—are prohibitively expensive. Local government has failed to provide the necessary help, and the city's legal non-profits are so overwhelmed that most have closed their waiting lists. Immigrants are educating themselves in the law and representing themselves, but they face profound challenges. Immigration law is exceptionally complex and many people do not read, write or speak English. Thousands are being deported to unsafe conditions in their home countries or living "undocumented" despite being eligible to work and reside in the Unites States.


We train every-day New Yorkers to provide legal support to immigrants who cannot afford attorneys. Our work includes: know your rights presentations, pro-bono legal referrals, and assistance with legal paperwork, including change of address and venue forms, work authorization, and asylum and Temporary Permanent Status (TPS) applications. We support about 50 people each week - thousands of people to date. We are based in Brooklyn but work with people in all five boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey. 


We believe in the inherent dignity of each person and the power of community to challenge the injustices of the legal system.  South Brooklyn Sanctuary is designed to meet community members' urgent needs within a liberation and transformative justice framework. We reject the distinction between program volunteers and “participants,” and those who receive support are encouraged to assume leadership roles.

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