By Bill Parry
In response to housing discrimination and ongoing attacks from Washington on immigrants, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and CUNY School of Law’s Community Legal Resources Network announced last week the relaunching of free legal services for immigrants and tenants. Peralta helped secure a $50,000 state allocation in this year’s state budget to offer critical services in his district office on Junction Boulevard.
“In the past several months, we were able to assist over 150 constituents who faced immigration or housing challenges,” Peralta said. “That’s why it is my privilege to team up again with CUNY School of Law to continue providing these vital free legal assistance services to our neighbors. At the state level, I am at the frontline when it comes to protecting my constituents, and won’t tolerate acts of discrimination against them. I am not going to allow anyone to treat my constituents as second-class citizens.”
The state funding offers a package of legal services, including one-on-one counseling and community education workshops. Since November, CUNY School of Law alumni lawyers have provided legal counseling and assistance in more than 60 immigration-related matters and more than 90 housing-related issues.
“This program fully resonates with the mission of CUNY School of Law, to practice ‘Law in the Service of Human Needs.’ We applaud the initiative of Sen. Peralta in spearheading this effort to bring access to legal assistance to his constituents,” CUNY School of Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek said. “This is the work our graduates came to pursue at CUNY School of Law and have been well trained to deliver.”
CUNY School of Law, according to its website, is the premier public interest law school, in the country which trains lawyers to serve the underprivileged and disempowered to make a difference in their community, has its campus located at 2 Court Square West in Long Island City.
“Particularly in the current state of immigration law and housing conditions in New York, the need for legal assistance in the community is dire,” said Alizabeth Newman, CUNY School of Law executive director of Alumni Engagement & Initiatives. “It is our pleasure to partner with our compassionate and skilled alumni attorneys with Sen. Peralta’s competent and committed staff.”
Any constituent of Peralta’s in need of assistance may call and make an appointment by calling his office at (718) 205-3881.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr