BY: | DATE: Aug 11, 2023

Immigration Legal Assistance Will Be Provided to Thousands of Asylum Seekers

NEW YORK – CUNY School of Law joins the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) and community-based organizations citywide in the launch of the  Asylum Seeker Legal Assistance Network (ASLAN), a $5 million investment in immigration legal services for newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers. CUNY Law, along with CUNY Citizenship Now!, will design and oversee information sessions, screenings, and application assistance clinics to train Law School students, as well as students throughout The City University of New York (CUNY) schools, to provide direct legal support.

Within the Law School, Main Street Legal Services has begun to build its Emerging Needs Clinic, which launched with the first week of classes this fall and engages engage current students in the citywide work of ASLAN.

“CUNY Law is proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ ASLAN initiative. CUNY Law students, many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants themselves, have fought for the rights of New York City’s asylum and immigrant communities for decades. Stepping up at this crucial moment to provide counsel, support, policy advocacy, and community education is not only the expertise of many of our students, faculty, and graduates—it’s also their calling,” said Dean Sudha Setty.

Through ASLAN, the city will expand access to immigration legal assistance for recently arrived migrants and asylum seekers. Orientation sessions, legal screenings, application assistance, pro se assistance clinics, self-help materials and workshops, and other services will be provided remotely, at CUNY Law, and at community-based organizations throughout the city serving as Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Centers.

“The Emerging Needs Clinic will provide frontline legal services to preserve the rights of migrants seeking asylum in New York City. The Clinic will collaborate with city agencies and nonprofits through a multi-disciplinary community model approach, including CUNY and city-wide volunteering and foreign language interpreters at John Jay College in an effort to build a team of support for migrants,” shared Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Programs Carmen Huertas-Noble.

“Arriving New Yorkers who are seeking asylum are navigating a hyper-complex, technical, and backlogged asylum process while their lives and livelihood hang in the balance. With no right to government-appointed counsel, little availability of social and medical support, and no immediate right to work, our new neighbors are being set up to fail. We applaud MOIA’s initiative to join nonprofit and community-based organizations who have long worked to fill this gap,” said Professor Nermeen Arastu, Co-Director of the Law School’s Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic.

Services will be available to migrants and asylum seekers who arrived in the United States on or after January 1, 2022. Providers will prioritize services for individuals approaching critical dates, such as the one-year deadline to file for asylum. Information about accessing services can be found at



The City University of New York School of Law is the nation’s leading public interest law school; its dual mission is to train lawyers dedicated to the practice of law in service of human needs and to make the learning, teaching, and practice of law accessible to those historically excluded from the legal profession.