New York State Defenders Association Criminal Defense Immigration Project

NYSDA’s initiatives in support of its mission statement include the Criminal Defense Immigration Project (CDIP). CDIP’s purpose is to integrate immigration expertise into New York State criminal defense representation to ensure that effective public defense representation is afforded without discrimination against foreign nationals. To achieve this, CDIP provides expert legal advice, publications, and training on current developments and issues involving the interplay between criminal and immigration law to public defenders and other criminal defense attorneys, immigration lawyers, community-based organizations, and immigrants. CDIP also staffs a legal assistance hotline and develops pro se materials, legal advisories, and community-based informational brochures for distribution to nonprofit organizations and immigrant communities across New York State.

For more information and assistance, contact the NYSDA Defenders Association, (518) 465-3524.

The work of NYSDA's CDIP impacts individuals and systems statewide. CDIP provides specific support services to criminal defense attorneys. These include, but are not limited to, drafting immigration legal expert advisory letters, providing amicus brief support, and providing free legal assistance on the project’s hotline, which operates five days a week. CDIP meets a growing demand for continuing legal education trainings and community workshops that address the impact of civil immigration enforcement on the New York State criminal justice system. CDIP also provides individual assistance on complex immigration matters in rural areas of Upstate New York where only limited legal resources are available in the area of criminal/immigration law.

NYSDA's CDIP is also dedicated to supporting post-conviction remedies that help ameliorate the unintended and often dire consequences to individuals, families, and communities associated with removal of an immigrant from the United States. CDIP provides legal assistance to those who are working on post-conviction issues both on a systematic and individual basis. CDIP’s close relationship with NYSDA's Public Defense Backup Center allows CDIP to incorporate the practical experience and expertise of NYSDA's other staff and membership into the development and implementation of a state-based comprehensive response to implementing Padilla. We seek to increase the quality of representation and advocacy on behalf of immigrants at risk of removal as a result of encounters with the New York State criminal justice system.