Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) said the Murphy Administration’s restriction of $2.1 million of new funding to Legal Services of New Jersey to immigration-related matters will come at the expense of other vulnerable populations in New Jersey.
Sen. Kristin Corrado said Gov. Murphy’s restriction on millions of new funding for low-income legal assistance to immigration-related matters will come at the expense of other vulnerable populations in New Jersey. (©iStock)
“Every year, our State budget contains funding for Legal Services of New Jersey to provide free legal assistance to low-income residents in a variety of areas, including housing rights, domestic disputes, veterans benefits, and employment issues,” said Corrado. “That’s the right thing to do. This year, however, Governor Murphy is setting restrictions on millions of LSNJ’s funding to limit its use solely to immigration-related matters. I’m extremely concerned that this unnecessary restriction will prevent Legal Services from expanding support for the wide range of legal needs that face New Jersey’s low-income families, seniors, and veterans.”
New Jersey provides an annual budget appropriation to Legal Services of New Jersey, a non-profit that provides support to low-income New Jerseyans in a broad spectrum of civil legal matters, which also include elder law, consumer rights, disability benefits, and criminal record expungements.
Corrado sponsored a budget resolution this year to increase LSNJ’s appropriation in the FY2019 State budget by $5 million. The resolution, which was not included in the final budget signed by Governor Murphy, would have provided unrestricted support for the variety of issues facing LSNJ’s clients. Instead, the Governor agreed to a smaller resolution adding only $2.5 million.
The additional $2.1 million announced by Governor Murphy today was appropriated through his inclusion of budget language in the State budget for LSNJ to provide “legal assistance to individuals facing detention or deportation based on their immigration status.”
“When Legal Services already turns away many people who are desperate for help due to resource limitations, we shouldn’t limit how new funding can be used,” added Corrado. “We shouldn’t say that deportation cases are more important than supporting victims of domestic abuse or workers who were hurt on the job. If we’re going to entrust LSNJ with State funds, we should trust their judgment to properly allocate the scarce resources we provide across the variety of our residents’ needs.”
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