Local Funding Initiatives
Beginning in 2017 ImmDef with the support of the County & City of Los Angeles, the City of Santa Ana, and later the City of Long Beach has launched Locally Funded Initiatives to support our immigrant communities and defend them against ICE attacks. The latter of these two projects are done in conjunction with the VERA Institute of Justices Safe Cities Initiative, a nationwide network of localities investing in their communities by defending them against ICE. These initiatives were launched following the 2016 election due to the organizing of community-based organizations and activists who saw the need for cities and counties to step up.
Los Angeles Justice Fund
In 2017 the Los Angeles Fund was created as a two-year grant through collaborative funds sourced by LA City, LA County, and Philanthropic partners such as the California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation. In 2019 the fund was due for a renewal however there has been no motion for the City or County to include it in their budgets. ImmDef is working collaboratively with other groups funded for removal defense through this grant to advocate for the funding to be reconsidered. We are thankful to the bridge funding received from the philanthropic partners.
Read the letter from 85 organizations to the La County Board of Supervisors
Santa Ana Justice Fund
In 2017, the City of Santa Ana became the first city in Orange County to designate funds to help residents facing deportation receive proper legal help. Santa Ana is one of the first dozen cities across the country to join the Vera Institute of Justice’s SAFE (Safety and Fairness for Everyone) Network, a group of communities dedicated to the goal of publicly funded universal representation.
Individuals at risk of deportation hold an important place in the fabric of Santa Ana’s community. They strengthen the city through their economic contributions and strong relationships. Santa Ana’s efforts to secure due process for ALL through the city’s legal defense fund is helping to create an equitable justice system, and it helps to protect people from institutions that hold little, if any, regard for their rights and aspirations. This type of effort is novel, and it can be used as a model for the nation to adopt a government funded universal representation program that provides due process for all, including individuals moving through immigration courts.
ImmDef provides immigration legal defense services to Santa Ana community members who are detained in Adelanto Detention Center. Under the current immigration laws, these community members are not guaranteed legal representation, a right that the sixth amendment of the US constitution should uphold but falls shorts. Generally, people facing deportation do not get appointed an attorney, even if they are detained. Many people in deportation proceedings have valid claims to remain in the United States but find it nearly impossible to present these claims without proper legal representation. Legal defense services are provided under the universal representation model, which is publicly funded deportation defense for all, regardless of the complexity of the case.
ImmDef has an extensive track record defending the most marginalized groups, and we are working tirelessly to maintain this impact in the City of Santa Ana. The people of Santa Ana have shown great commitment to the Santa Ana Justice Fund. In January 2017, Santa Ana declared itself a sanctuary city with an ordinance prohibiting the use of city resources for immigration enforcement, among other things. In a 2018 poll by UC San Diego Associate Professor Tom Wong, 65% of respondents in Santa Ana expressed support for paying for legal representation for those who cannot afford an attorney, including individuals facing deportation. With the challenges presented by our nation’s flawed legal system, ensuring due process for all is no easy task, but ImmDef’s work through the Santa Ana Justice Fund is helping Santa Ana become a more equitable place to live for all.
On April 16, 2019 The City of Long Beach announced the selection of Immigrant Defenders Law Center as the legal service provider that would initiate the Long Beach Justice Fund (LBJF), an initiative that provides legal representation for immigrants who live or work in Long Beach and are facing deportation. The fund was set up through a SAFE (Safety and Fairness for Everyone) Cities Catalyst Grant from the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), and a one-time grant from the City of Long Beach. Charitable contributions from individuals and philanthropic organizations sustain the fund.
ImmDef runs our Long Beach Justice Fund intake system on a universal representation model. We provide full-scale removal defense to Long Beach community members under this grant and will represent them through final adjudication of their immigration case, which includes all EOIR hearings (detained and released), bond, USCIS applications and a limited number of BIA appeals. Generally, immigrants facing deportation do not get appointed an attorney even if they are detained. Many people in deportation proceedings have valid claims to remain in the United States but find it nearly impossible to present these claims without proper legal representation. ImmDef has an extensive track record defending the most marginalized groups, and we are working tirelessly to maintain this impact in the City of Long Beach. We work collaboratively with community-based organizations such as Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition to carry out our work including community-based clinics.
Inland Empire Immigrant Justice Fund
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