Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition to Continue Regular Visits to Detention Facilities Despite The Department of Justice Halting Funding for Program That Provides Legal Assistance to Detained Immigrants

by CAIR Coalition Staff

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2018) — This week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it is indefinitely pausing its Legal Orientation Program (LOP). Cutting LOP funding will result in the suspension of programs that allow organizations such as Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) to provide legal assistance to detained immigrants and help them navigate the complex immigration process.

The suspension of the LOP effectively terminates the program that provides critical services to over 50,000 people a year nationwide and over 2,000 detained immigrants in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia Region.

Each year, thousands of people, including those who have fled countries at war, Dreamers, spouses of U.S. citizens, green card holders, and children, face deportation in a civil immigration court. About 86% of these detainees go to court without legal representation. Stopping funding to these programs will cut detained immigrants off from access to their legal right to counsel.

“These individuals and families need, deserve, and have the legal right to our support,” said Claudia Cubas, Litigation Director at CAIR Coalition. “Having a lawyer is key, as immigrants with counsel are twice as likely to succeed in a defense against removal and four times as likely to get bond. In addition, a DOJ study found that the shorter detention periods that result from this program save the government more than $17.8 million over a three-year period.”

CAIR Coalition and other organizations play the integral role of regularly visiting immigrant detention centers, providing individuals who are often unaware of their rights and next steps with information regarding the options available to them, and potentially connecting them to a pro-bono lawyer to help them get out of the detention facility.

“Funding may be paused, but we will not stop our detention center visits, and we will not stop providing these vulnerable populations with the information and resources they need,” Cubas said. “We ask our supporters to call their Members of Congress today to urge the DOJ to continue to fund the LOP.”

To make a donation to the CAIR Coalition and support their continual work serving detained immigrant communities, please click here.

For more information, visit


Sign up to stay involved

Enter your e-mail to receive legal updates, action alerts, and more!