NYC comptroller shockingly says every Big Apple migrant should get a free lawyer — paid for by taxpayers

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander has drawn outrage for claiming that giving each of the tens of thousands of migrants pouring into the Big Apple free legal representation could net billions in economic benefits for New York state.

Lander’s office said in a report that coughing up individual lawyers to rep migrants could prevent roughly 53,000 asylum seekers from being deported across the Empire State — resulting in an estimated net benefit of $8.4 billion for local, state and federal governments.

“Access to work authorization leads to higher wages. The higher earning power generates more tax revenue. Higher personal income also benefits the economy through increased consumer spending,” the report said.

A new report from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander says giving migrants a lawyer to help them fight deportation could net billions. Robert Mecea
A new report from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander says giving migrants a lawyer to help them fight deportation could net billions. Robert Mecea

“Additionally, gaining lawful status also opens the door to more immigrants opening bank accounts, buying homes, and starting businesses, which all help grow the economy.”

The report — which fails to lay out how much it would cost to cover the legal fees — comes as the city is grappling with how to foot the bill for sheltering the roughly 180,000 migrants who have arrived since the crisis erupted in spring 2022.

Mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly stressed that the relentless influx of migrants is forecast to set the city back $10 billion over the next few years.

The notion of forking over even more money to provide legal counsel for migrants was quickly ripped by critics.

“Every couple of weeks, there’s another politician telling us that the migrant crisis is giving us some newfound, economic benefit — and yet all we seem to keep doing is using taxpayer money to pay for services,” City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The Post on Wednesday.

“Both of those things can’t be true.”

City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) also chimed in: “No amount of gaslighting by the king panderer Brad Lander can change the undeniable fact that unfettered migration across the border is detrimental to our city.”

The move to give each migrant legal representation could prevent roughly 53,000 asylum seekers from being deported across the Empire State, Brad Lander’s report says. Matthew McDermott
The move to give each migrant legal representation could prevent roughly 53,000 asylum seekers from being deported across the Empire State, Brad Lander’s report says. Matthew McDermott

“Half of New Yorkers are looking for the exit door because of what’s going on. We need to reverse that,” he added, citing a new report from the Citizens Budget Commission that found 50% of all New Yorkers plan to stay in the city over the next five years.

Meanwhile, Steven Camarota, director of research with the right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies, also ripped Lander’s assertion, saying telling The Post it “contradicts” prior research on the subject.

“Only a small fraction of the migrants even qualify for asylum,” Camarota said.

He argued migrants who haven’t been high school educated are a tax drain – not tax generator.

“Less educated immigrants are a large fiscal drain,” Camarota said, adding they’d have to make between $90,000 and $100,000 a year in high cost New York to break even.

“It certainly contradicts all the prior research on the fiscal impact of illegal immigrants,” he said.

The comptroller’s report analyzed, in part, the potential benefits of passing the state’s Access to Representation Act — a bill that aims to guarantee legal representation for all migrants facing deportation and help clear the backlog of cases piling up in immigration courts.

The current backlog in New York State-based immigration courts is about 350,000 people, according to reports. NYC Comptroller
The current backlog in New York State-based immigration courts is about 350,000 people, according to reports. NYC Comptroller
Shown above is the percent of adults in New York who are allowed to stay in the U.S. NYC Comptroller
Shown above is the percent of adults in New York who are allowed to stay in the U.S. NYC Comptroller

“The quicker cases get resolved, the quicker immigrant New Yorkers can get back into the workforce, get access to the legal protections for which they qualify, and contribute to our economy,” the report said.

According to the report, the earning potential of migrants in the city’s shelters is more than $382 million — a figure that could potentially surge to over $470 million if the feds granted them all work permits.

The sums were based on projected new tax revenues over the next 30 years, minus services received, per the report.

“Your ability to protect your rights, fight to stay in the country you love, and remain with your family shouldn’t depend on your ability to afford a lawyer,” Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), who co-sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

According to the report, the earning potential of migrants in the city’s shelters is more than $382 million — a figure that could potentially surge to over $470 million, according to reports. Kevin C. Downs for NY Post
According to the report, the earning potential of migrants in the city’s shelters is more than $382 million — a figure that could potentially surge to over $470 million, according to reports. Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

“That is why we must pass the Access to Representation Act and guarantee that anyone facing a possible deportation can be represented by a lawyer,” Cruz added.

“This investment not only greatly increases a person’s ability to win their case, but as we see in the NYC Comptroller’s report, more than 53,000 New Yorkers would be able to stay in our state, providing a much needed boost to our economy.”

City Hall didn’t respond to The Post’s request for comment about the report.