Fund for Immigrant Justice
A Call for a Return to Decency: Immigrants Need our Help Now More Than Ever
Please Support the Fund for Immigrant Justice Today!
At NSC, we have seen a 300% increase in legal consults in the past 18 months, leading to the challenge of maintaining high-quality and low-cost services to all who need to access these services. While only 13% of unauthorized immigrants were considered a priority for deportation at the end of the previous administration, the enforcement net has been widened to include all unauthorized immigrants – whether they have a criminal conviction or deep community roots, including families and businesses – creating deep fear and anxiety that their lives can be torn from them at any minute. A recent investigation by Pro Publica and The Inquirer revealed that the Philadelphia Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is the most aggressive in the nation, with 64% of its arrests involving immigrants with no criminal conviction, as compared to 38% nation-wide. In addition, the recent decisions to separate children from their parents at the southern border and to deny the availability of asylum to victims of domestic violence and gang-based violence coupled with the uncertainty of the future of DACA mean that immigrants are no longer certain that they will have the opportunity to pursue a legal remedy.
In light of this startling new environment, an unprecedented number of clients have been filling NSC’s legal consults to seek advice and to secure the most permanent status for which they are eligible. In response, NSC has expanded the format of its legal consults to include a "Know Your Rights" presentation and have added two new paralegal positions to increase our capacity to serve. We provide free legal services for survivors of domestic violence, torture, and human trafficking, and some detained immigrants. However, many of those seeking services (e.g. those detained by ICE, unaccompanied children, long-term lawful permanent residents, indigent individuals without permanent shelter or in long-term care facilities) are not covered by funded programs. Despite our best efforts to increase capacity to serve these individuals, our staff have to turn individuals away each week due to the overwhelming number of individuals seeking legal assistance.
In response to this current climate, NSC has launched the Fund for Immigrant Justice to help meet the needs of more immigrants in Philadelphia.
Year 1 (June 2018 – May 2019)
Phase 1 of the Fund for Immigrant Justice will:
* hire one full-time attorney who will provide free legal services to low-income immigrants along the spectrum of status seeking services, particularly those facing barriers to access. In the first year, the attorney is anticipated to represent 40-50 clients in removal proceedings and in matters adjudicated by USCIS.
* establish a fund that will cover the costs of applications, filing fees, and related expenses for immigrant clients. This includes filing fees charged by the government and any additional fees for supporting documents, including medical records, police reports, or civil surgeon exams. These fees can range from $200 to $1,800 or more per application. Those with income under 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines Free will be eligible for free legal services with the attorney and for assistance with immigration filing fees.
One hundred percent of the dollars raised for the Fund for Immigrant Justice will go to serving clients and eliminating barriers to access. By investing in the Fund for Immigrant Justice, you will help ensure that those immigrants who are seeking a viable legal remedy are able to do so.
Year 2 (FY20) Campaign Goal: $100,000
Amount raised since June 1, 2019: $3,708