Immigrant Kids Need Your Help

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As you know, our president-elect has made some strong statements about his plans for immigrants. With your support, we have made great strides toward helping our immigrant sisters and brothers get on the path to citizenship, become citizens, or gain some measure of protected status. Your support also has helped us serve young Dreamers to get working papers and protect them from being torn from their families. You have helped us represent children and adults who have fled terror and violence in their countries to become settled here and to begin the process of becoming citizens.

We are deeply disturbed by the rhetoric of the campaign and want to be prepared to defend our sisters and brothers who may be put in peril by the next administration. Without specific information we cannot tell what may be coming, so this is a time of waiting and listening. But it is also a time for us to do things we know are needed regardless of immigration policy changes. We are asking for your assistance to help us take these steps to meet the coming challenges.

As our program has matured, we have taken on more complex cases. Many of these involve children or families with children who are fleeing terror and violence in their home countries. These people flee for their lives, enduring hardship and danger as they make their way to safety in the US. When they get here, most of them turn themselves in or are caught by Customs and Border Protection and put in detention centers.

Once processed, they are released to await their time in immigration court. Unaccompanied children are released to someone who is willing to take responsibility for them. All of them are placed in removal proceedings, the first step in deportation to the homeland they fled. Immigrants in removal proceedings do not automatically get attorneys. They must find attorneys to represent them or represent themselves in immigration court, even the children. Many of them have valid asylum claims, but without legal representation the probability of them successfully representing themselves in front of an immigration judge and against a government attorney is very low.

Deportation without Representation

Deportation without Representation

Presently our partially Accredited Representatives can practice certain aspects of immigration law, but we cannot represent people in immigration court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). There is a path for our Accredited Representatives to become fully accredited and thus able to practice in immigration court and before the BIA. We want to take that path.

Our goal is to have two of our current partially Accredited Representatives become fully accredited. As you may know, our legal staff is 85% volunteer. This year alone, they have donated 2,950 hours to the legal program. But training to become fully accredited is not free. We anticipate the cost to train and equip them for this to be $7,500. This would cover specialized classes taught by the National Institute of Trial Advocates and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, travel to the classes, and legal resource texts needed to support our court advocacy work.

We are asking your help in providing the funds to obtain this accreditation. As a result, more deserving immigrants – especially children – would have representation for their needs and possibly to save their lives. We believe the immigrants in Kitsap deserve this resource.

Be assured that we will continue our work to keep families together and to stand for the aspiring Americans whom we serve.



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