Our project and organization seeks to counter loaded rhetoric, which creates a toxic atmosphere for many immigrants and leads to heightening anxiety. By providing culturally sensitive legal advise in a language they understand, we assist immigrants to assert their rights as they strive to become good and neighbors. Whether knowingly or not, the persistent rhetoric on news media and the internet has awakened and encouraged forces within our communities who for whatever reason, now perceived immigration as the cause of their life’s problem. Without fully understanding that most immigrants are victims in and of itself from war, trauma, abuse, rape, torture, and oppression, the constant attack that ‘some’ immigrants don’t belong in the United States makes it difficult for them to get the help they need to better integrated. As a result, most immigrants are hesitant to reach out for assistance because they fear affirmatively doing so can lead to deportation.
The initial seed grant allowed us to announce to members of our communities that someone, some organization that represents their interest was now in town. The response was an immediate overwhelming demand for our services. Unlike other branches of law where citizens or those charged have a right to counsel, immigrants faced with the behemoth task of navigating the complexity of the immigration courts or services have no rights to counsel. They depend on charities like ours to get better advise. This grant continues to provide our attorney with the resources he needs to keep the work going.