MAYOR BOWSER ANNOUNCES $2.5 MILLION TO FUND LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR DC IMMIGRANT RESIDENTS, INCLUDING THOSE DETAINED BY ICE
Detained D.C. resident immigrants to receive support for the first time; Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition applauds historic grant
Contact: Sheena Pegarido, 202.559.4431
WASHINGTON (September 24, 2019) — Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition applauds D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s historic announcement today to provide $2.5 million to fund legal representation for D.C. residents, including those detained by ICE — the largest allocation ever in D.C. going towards immigration service providers.
The (Bowser) administration’s Immigrant Justice Legal Services (IJLS) grant will help CAIR Coalition's DC Detained Immigrant Representation Program to increase access to legal assistance for detained residents of the District facing deportation and permanent exile from their families. The grant increases funding for immigrant legal services from last year’s $900,000, and opens the legal representation service to residents who are detained. Previous years’ funds restricted services to immigrants who have not been detained.
Recent decisions by the U.S. government have placed large numbers of people nationwide on a path toward losing legal status, including the cancellation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of several countries. More than 4,000 DC residents with DACA and TPS face loss of their status by January 2020, making them subject to detention and deportation.
Immigrants with counsel are twice as likely to succeed in a defense against removal and four times as likely to get bond. Immigrants are not provided counsel in immigration proceedings and those without lawyers face enormous odds in fighting their deportation cases.
DC is home to more than 95,000 immigrants, who make up 14% of the population of the District. According to the American Immigration Council, more than 10,000 U.S. citizens in DC live with at least one family member who is foreign born. Detention affects the entire family, especially those who depend on one individual to support the family financially.
“Often the detained individual is the family breadwinner and their detention and subsequent deportation can send the family plunging into economic instability; in some cases even leading to the family losing their home,” said Ashley Warmeling, Senior Attorney at CAIR Coalition. “The detention of a loved one also takes a tremendous psychological toll on the family. Children of detained immigrants often start to have difficulty focusing on their schoolwork, negatively impacting their school performance.”
In 2018, CAIR Coalition identified 90 D.C. residents detained in one of the five adult detention centers in the DMV, who could not afford representation.
CAIR Coalition is proud to stand with organizations operating under the IJLS grant, including CARECEN, Legal Aid Society, Rising for Justice, Ayuda, and Whitman-Walker, to ensure triage and prepare for further changes in law.
About the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the DC metropolitan area and beyond through direct legal representation, know your rights presentations, impact and advocacy work, and the training of attorneys defending immigrants in the immigration and criminal justice arenas. More information can be found at http://www.caircoalition.org.