Stop Funding the ‘Rights for Migrants’ Legal Scam

By Betsy McCaughey Published on December 28, 2023

As a record number of migrants invade the U.S., wreaking pain on New York City and other communities, one group is winning big-time: the public advocacy lawyers. Their business is to constantly sue to win more so-called rights for migrants. Rights to shelter, rights to meals, rights to health care, even the right to vote in local elections.

Who pays the bills on both sides of these lawsuits? You do. Taxpayer money largely funds these legal combatants, which include the Coalition for the Homeless, Legal Aid Society, and Vera Institute of Justice.

You’re paying to be legally coerced into providing more for migrants, even at the cost of cutting vital city services — kind of like hiring your own assassin. It’s absurd, but it’s about to get worse.

Resolution 556

On Dec. 14, the New York City Council passed Resolution 556, calling on the state legislature to guarantee, as a right, that all migrants have lawyers paid for by taxpayers when they go to immigration court. It would be a “first-in-the-nation” guarantee.

Resolution 556 would give migrants more rights than American citizens have. No one else is guaranteed a publicly funded lawyer in civil court matters such as housing court issues or divorce.

Yikes, the city council’s proposal would make the Big Apple even more of a magnet for migrants than it already is.

Those Supporting the Resolution

Who’s behind this push? The Vera Institute of Justice, for one.

Vera claims we “need a federally funded universal legal defense service” for migrants. In short, a national army of left-wing lawyers paid by you. What better place to launch this lunatic idea than at the New York City Council?

The Vera Institute is not the only organization cashing in on migrants’ rights.

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In October, Mayor Eric Adams went to court for temporary relief from the rigid rules and settlements that define what the city must provide the homeless, as tens of thousands of homeless migrants arrive. Immediately, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless swooped in, claiming his plan would “gut” the long-standing rights of the homeless.

These lawsuits are largely funded by you, through grants and contracts from the city and state. Manhattan Judge Gerald Lebovits urged the parties to compromise, and arranged for the lawyers on all sides, representing the city, the state and the migrants, to meet in his chambers several times.

The Problem is Nationwide

This scam is being repeated all over the nation. The Justice Action Center — also publicly funded — is suing the Biden administration on behalf of Haitian asylum seekers whose rights it claims were violated by U.S. Border Patrol Agents on horseback trying to stop them as they crossed the Rio Grande. Lawyers for the migrants and lawyers for the Biden administration will cross swords. Never mind who wins. They’re all being paid by us.

It’s a free country. Anyone can sue. But why should we be paying for these legal boxing matches?

Disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote on these pages last week that the remedy for New York City’s mounting woes is to sue the federal government for more money. Wrong. That would send more wasted funds down the litigation rathole.

Cuomo also argues that the “right to shelter” should apply to all the counties, instead of just Gotham, and that state lawmakers should “fairly distribute” the migrant burden statewide. Spoken like a pol who is eyeing a city position and no longer cares about the rest of the state.

Let’s Break the Stranglehold

The notion that there is a “right to shelter” in the state Constitution was concocted by the Coalition for the Homeless in a lawsuit in 1981. It has tied the hands of city leaders ever since. It should be legally challenged. Extending that questionable right to migrants who just arrived here, and then imposing it statewide, would compound the wrong.

Tell lawmakers to stop funding the legal advocacy industry with our money. It’s time to break the stranglehold these publicly funded lawyers, under the guise of doing good, have on our city and nation.

 

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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