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Cornell Law Clinic and Immigration Legal Advocates Group Launch Interactive Map of Upstate NY Legal Service Providers
The interactive map created by the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic and I-ARC allows users to find legal services in their county.

A new interactive map that shows immigration-law service providers across all of Upstate New York launched today, May 8. The map is the result of a collaboration between Cornell Law School’s Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic and the Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative (I-ARC).

Launched eight years ago, the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic guides law students in providing free legal services to farmworkers locally, nationally, and internationally, and one of its primary areas of focus has been handling individual deportation defense cases for child and youth farmworkers. The clinic also provides legal research and advocacy interventions for policy organizations focused on the welfare of farmworkers.

The clinic’s work across the state revealed an information gap between legal service providers in upstate counties and the people who need to connect with those services. Reina Fostyk, legal fellow and Mohawk Valley region project director in the clinic, notes, “This gap partially stems from a lack of locally-sourced existing directories that focus on upstate — the geographic area that falls under the jurisdiction of the Immigration Court in Buffalo — meaning both providers and service seekers can struggle to identify immigration legal services in their area.”

The clinic and I-ARC partnered with Nomadic Technology Consultants to design a map of Upstate New York that will allow immigrants, local community members, and legal service providers to more readily identify what agencies provide immigration legal services for each upstate county and also allow legal service providers to update their own information in order to keep the map current.

The project has been in the works since August 2022, and several clinic students have been involved, including Tasha Gottschalk-Fielding ’23, now an IJC Justice Fellow with the clinic; Mikhail Spivakovsky-Gonzalez ’23, and William Stone ’24.

Spivakovsky-Gonzalez, now working as an associate at Ropes and Gray, observes that the experience enabled him to follow the process of identifying and responding to a community need. “It was inspiring to see an idea come to life like that.”

Gottschalk-Fielding envisions a significant impact for that idea. “I’ve seen immigrants and invested community members upstate struggle with knowing who to connect with for legal services. And I’ve seen those service providers not know who to refer clients to in other areas. We hope this powerful new tool will help make all of these connections easier.”

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