Murphy wants $2.1M to help immigrants with legal aid

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Poor New Jersey immigrants facing deportation could get access to legal aid under a $2.1 million cash infusion in Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed budget.

Murphy's proposed spending comes as President Donald Trump oversees an immigration crackdown.

Progressive groups and advocates for legal aid have applauded the proposal while Republicans question its affordability.

If approved, New Jersey could join other Democrat-led states like New York and California that are providing legal help to poorer immigrants. New York last year announced a public-private partnership aimed at helping immigrants. California pledged $30 million, mostly in legal help, for young immigrants.

It's unclear how many immigrants would benefit from the money, a fraction of the state's proposed $37.4 billion fiscal 2019 budget. New Jersey has about 500,000 immigrants in the country illegally.