‘Justice Fund’ to Cover Legal Costs for Immigrants Facing Deportation

Major cities are going up against President-elect Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies, including Los Angeles, which said it will set up a $10 million "L.A. Justice Fund" for the cause.

REUTERS

Cities across the country have agreed to cover legal fees for immigrants who now face deportation following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Election Day. Notably, Los Angeles will have a $10 million fund dedicated to legal assistance in response to Trump’s “dangerous rhetoric,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.

“We don’t know how far the new administration will go when it comes to our nation’s immigration policy, but we’ve all heard the rhetoric, the dangerous rhetoric of the election,” Garcetti said.

Immigrants facing deportation who are not detained and are able to obtain legal counsel are almost five times more likely to win their cases than those who do not have legal assistance — 63 percent versus 13 percent, according to a study released in September. (For immigrants who have been detained, 49 percent with counsel received relief, compared to 23 percent without representation.)

“In this climate of fear, it’s crucial that immigrants turn to legitimate lawyers so they aren’t victimized by scam artists who prey on their vulnerability,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a press release.

Half of the fund will come from government funds ($2 million from the city, $3 million from the county) and the other half will be provided through private philanthropic groups. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti cited Trump’s hardline stance on immigration as the reason for the fund.

“As leaders of our county and city governments and this region’s philanthropic community, we are saying something loud and clear with a simple voice,” Garcetti said. “We are saying that the good and law-abiding immigrants of Los Angeles — our family members, our friends, our neighbors — they belong here and we will fight for them.”

According to the American Community Survey (ACS), about 43 million people make up the foreign-born population in the United States. In the city of Los Angeles, 37.4 percent of the city’s total population — more than 1.4 million people — are immigrants. Eighty percent have been in the country since before 2010.

“A fair system of justice should provide immigrants who confront deportation — including children and families striving to realize their hopes and dreams — with lawyers to protect their rights,” said Feuer.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis called the Justice Fund “just another step in a long-term strategy, reinforcing the safety net for our county’s immigrants.”

“Immigrant workers, you may know, contribute 40 percent of the county’s gross domestic product,” she said. “That’s nearly $300 billion in contributions to the county.”

About 2,000 protesters marched in the city on Sunday on the eve of the Electoral College officially electing Trump as president. (Sunday also marked International Migrants Day.) Demonstrators carried signs that said “Stop Trump,” “Refugees Welcome” and “Make America Think Again” — a play on Trump’s infamous campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

“I want to tell Mr. Trump that we are immigrants, we help this economy grow, we don’t want nothing for free,” said one activist.

Earlier this month, the California Senate introduced an emergency bill that would create a California Universal Representation Trust Fund, which would be able to accept private donations in order to provide legal services for immigrants who would not otherwise be entitled to representation.

Also this month, the county’s Board of Supervisors voted in support of a plan that would protect the identities of immigrant communities that may be impacted by policies under the new administration. The motion passed 4-0, with one supervisor abstaining, LAist reported.

“People are terrified,” Solis said at the time.

In addition to Los Angeles, Chicago also approved its own $1.3 million legal fund for immigrants. New York is creating a plan as well, The Associated Press reported.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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8 comments


  • While living in Los Angeles, I’m dismayed that the $10 million is not being used for all the HOMELESS American citizens who can’t afford to pay the exorbitant rent and can’t afford to leave the crazy state of California!

    Only in San Francisco, LA, NY, Atlanta and Seattle have I witnessed the WORSE homelessness. There are more under bridge tent cities in small town Seattle than in large, international cities like NY and LA. Ten million should be used for these LEGAL CITIZENS because charity should begin at HOME. CA and Washington state does everything az-backwards trying so hard to be “LIBERAL” and politically correct at the expense of its own citizens.

    • I don’t know you personally, but I do know many people who couldn’t give a fig about homeless people (unless it was to kick them out of the way) until we starting talking about helping immigrants and refugees.
      Then all of a sudden its “will someone please think of the homeless?!” — as if homelessness was not a problem when the US decided to get involved in wars for resources…money on weapons that could have been spent on combating domestic issues such as homelessness.

      • I recently had dinner with a doctor who runs the emergency rooms at a large hospital system. He told me that, when he was younger and the doctor in charge at an inner city emergency room, a homeless man came in from a cold winter night and the hospital staff complained about his odor. The doctor took him into a room, gave him a shower, clothes from his locker and even cut his hair. The homeless man said “I haven’t felt this good in years.”

        Every person should pray that someone reaches out to all of us in our moment of need with empathy and dignity.

        We have 9,000 nuclear weapons, millions of people in military uniforms, twelve nuclear powered aircraft carriers — and homeless people? Makes no sense. I wonder how well people are thought out when they state, not implore, God Bless America. How would they think God would appear before them? With an orange pompadour and gold plated bathroom fixtures in a luxury tower on 5th Avenue or as a stinky homeless guy coming in from the winter cold in Camden, NJ (a city that blesses nobody)?

        I’m just guessing the latter.

    • You’re making the broad assumption that the homeless are all, in fact, American citizens. Are you sure about that? If not, are you proposing to only assist the homeless that are Americans? Your use of “charity” appears to be an oxymoron, in my opinion. The true meaning of charity doesn’t care about your origins, only that you’re in need, for what ever the reason (e.g. cost of housing, loss of income, mental/medical disabilities, choice). At one time, most of the citizens of this country were immigrants. Imagine if our ancestors received no support and this was happening. Would you be here now?

  • People who’re parsing the election’s popular vote are starting to say that Trump won a majority if California’s excluded, but Clinton won by landslide in California. Hence rogue leftist Los Angeles municipal government using American citizens’ tax money to aid illegals in escaping and evading American law?

    • Rogue? Duly elected government.

      Since you bring it up, the president elect won all the electoral votes in three states by less than one percent of the popular vote in each state – a total of 107,000 people, in an election where Clinton won by 2.7 million votes.

      The president elect tweeted that millions of people voted illegally – but then vigorously opposed investigations. Maybe someone whispered in his ear that millions of republicans, perhaps organized by Russian-funded fake news were the ones who voted illegally.

      We should ask the people the president elect asked to watch the polls. Maybe they saw something suspicious, like gaggles of old white men in “lock her up” t-shirts repeatedly going to the polling stations.

    • Yes, of course if you exclude so many of the American citizens who voted against Dump, he won the popular vote.

      Removing data and the results change! Wow, what a novel concept. Wonder if scientists have figured this out…

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