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  1. #1
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    Nonprofits scramble to get legal aid to immigrants

    Nonprofits scramble to get legal aid to immigrants

    Nonprofits scramble to get legal aid to immigrants

    County supervisors plan to boost funds amid ICE raids

    by Kevin Forestieri
    Mountain View Voice


    Santa Clara County officials are preparing another round of grant funding to aid undocumented immigrants facing the threat of deportation amid heightened immigration enforcement activity in the Bay Area.

    In June, Santa Clara County Supervisors committed $3.5 million to more than a dozen nonprofits in order to increase legal aid available to the county's immigrant community. The decision was largely a response to rhetoric from President Donald Trump -- and later Trump's executive orders -- shifting priorities toward heavy-handed immigration enforcement.

    Since then, there have been multiple well-publicized sweeps by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting the Bay Area as recently as last month. ICE released a statement on Feb. 27 touting the agency's arrests of more than 150 people in the Bay Area, about half of whom had criminal convictions, in a weeklong effort targeting so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.

    In an effort to react quickly to what they saw as a threat to its constituents, county supervisors agreed to distribute the $3.5 million to 18 nonprofits in the county that provide a broad range of services, including "Know Your Rights" education and legal defense during deportation proceedings.

    County administrators say the need for legal representation still far exceeds the demand, and they will return to the Board of Supervisors with recommendations this month to renew funding through the 2018-19 fiscal year. Although specific details are still to come, the funding will likely shift away from education initiatives and focus more on legal defense.

    Among the nonprofits helping North County residents is Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto (CLSEPA), which received $320,000 in county grant funds this year and recently opened up a new office on Fairchild Drive in Mountain View. Reports from the county say that as of December, the nonprofit provided "direct representation" to 86 unaccompanied minors and families with children who were in expedited deportation proceedings in the San Francisco Immigration Court since June. All of them were Latino, with many from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

    "Many of these children and families have fled violence and abuse in Central America," according to the staff report.

    ICE activity has ramped up since fall, with quite a few arrests in San Jose as well as other cities in Santa Clara County, according Misha Seay, a senior immigration attorney for CLSEPA. Although the name suggests otherwise, she said the organization opened the Mountain View office in order to expand its outreach to North County residents, and wants to let the immigrant community know that legal help is available. Unlike other court proceedings, immigration courts are not required to provide a legal defense to the defendant.

    "As you can imagine, that creates a huge gap in services and a big need for the immigrant population who can't afford private counsel on their own," she said.

    In August, Santa Clara County launched the Rapid Response Network, which calls on community members to alert immigration advocacy groups whenever ICE is suspected of detaining someone in the community. Once an arrest is confirmed, the network calls on attorneys like the ones at CLSEPA to offer legal representation to whoever was picked up.

    "That's the part we're heavily involved in, and it's actually been occurring quite frequently," Seay said. "We'll go to ICE and meet with the (detainee) before they get transported to the detention center."

    One of the major hurdles for CLSEPA and similar advocacy groups is that the immigration courts were already clogged up before Trump took office, and it's only gotten worse since then. In a report to the county, CLSEPA staffers noted that the backlog has gotten so bad that initial hearings for unaccompanied children at the San Francisco Immigration Court are being scheduled for 2021, and hearings for asylum applicants are being pushed out between two and five years, depending on the judge.

    "These backlogs create uncertainty and anxiety for clients, who have to wait years for their cases to be resolved," according to the report.

    "This backlog also places pressure on our immigration program; because cases are not closing, it limits the number of new cases that we can initiate."

    Delegating the immigrant support to nonprofits using taxpayer dollars hasn't been without its own set of problems. At a Finance and Government Operations Committee meeting last week, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said that the partnership comes with a higher level of accountability that, frankly, none of the nonprofit partners seems to want.

    At the same time, some of the nonprofits in the latest reports aren't meeting the goals or spending the money allocated by the county, which Chavez worried is locking up money that could be better spent elsewhere.

    "I want to make sure we can take some of the remaining money that's not being spent and redirect it, because we are in a crisis," she said.

    "And I don't think it's okay to leave money that's not really being drawn down while we have individuals who are literally in crisis right now and we can help."


    Nonprofits scramble to get legal aid to immigrants | News | Palo Alto ...

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  2. #2
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    "Many of these children and families have fled violence and abuse in Central America," according to the staff report.
    Really tired of hearing this same song. Stop funding central american countries and taking in their people at our border, till they get their act together and run their countries properly. Chamber of Commerce wants their cheap labor here at a very high cost to Americans. They continue their overpopulating ways but everything is free in usa for that. And the anchors can make the parents legally allowed to stay one day.

    They have agriculture with coffee, an array of produce, cacoa, beaches/tourism (as long as you don't stray outside), clothing mfg and many other resources with their tropical climate. "The economy of Central America is the eleventh largest economy in Latin America, behind Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, According to the World Bank, the nominal GDP of Central America reached 204 billion US dollars in 2010."
    Last edited by artist; 03-21-2018 at 10:44 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    Most are criminals, they will be picked up by ICE and deported!

    Get them out of the local and state jurisdiction and into Federal Tent Facilities OUT of the hands of the corrupt Judges and Lawyers!

    Federal Immigration criminals including Visa overstays and criminal foreign citizens should not be in the hands of the States...get them into Federal Immigration Facilities that specifically uphold our Federal Immigration Laws!
    artist likes this.
    NO DACA - NO AMNESTY - NO PATH TO STAY - LET WORK PERMITS EXPIRE
    DEPORT ALL ILLEGAL ALIENS WITHIN 24 HOURS
    END BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP!

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