Click Here to Donate to the Colorado Bar Association Matching Grant Fund to Help Support RMIAN's Children's Program. **Please be sure select 'Colorado Bar Association Matching Grant' in the section labeled Program.**
The Colorado Bar Association Steps up to Support Justice for Unaccompanied Minors with a Matching $50,000 Grant to the RMIAN Children's Program
As a result of a current humanitarian crisis, hundreds of unaccompanied children, some as young as two or three years old, are being forced to go through deportation proceedings at the Denver Immigration Court without a lawyer. Most of these children are fleeing horrific violence, trafficking, and persecution in their home countries, and now face the additional trauma of appearing in front of a judge and a government prosecutor alone. That is because in immigration court cases, there is not government appointed counsel, even for children.
The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), through its Children's Program, along with the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), have been working tirelessly to marshal the support of Colorado's legal community to find lawyers for as many children as possible. The Colorado Bar Association (CBA) has announced an unprecedented effort to support justice for these children, through a $50,000 matching grant to RMIAN. This grant will help ensure due process for these vulnerable children by expanding RMIAN's capacity to recruit, train, and mentor volunteer attorneys, who will provide representation, which is crucial to ensuring a safe future for these children.
"This commitment by the CBA establishes it as a national leader in supporting human rights for extremely vulnerable children," says Abbie Johnson, Managing Attorney of the RMIAN Children's Program.
RMIAN's Children's Program has been providing free immigration-related legal services to children in Colorado since 2004 and is the only program in the state of Colorado dedicated to children's immigration law issues. With an exponential increase in children seeking safety in the U.S. and Colorado beginning in 2014, RMIAN's services are needed now more than ever.
To help RMIAN match the $50,000 from the Colorado Bar Association, please click the link above or the icon on the right and be sure to include "CBA Matching Grant" in the Description line or send a check to RMIAN's office at the below address and write "CBA" in the Memo line.
RMIAN applauds the President's decision to help millions through the administrative relief program, but urges him not to forget the most vulnerable.
President Obama's November 20th announcement of his executive action is a huge victory for millions of people who came to this country in search of a better life, and now no longer have to fear deportation and separation from their families, communities, and lives. This announcement is an important first step in affirming our country's commitment to protecting the values of family, inclusiveness, and unity.
RMIAN has played an essential role in providing legal services for youth eligible for the previously implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Colorado, and witnessed first-hand the transformational impact this program had on families and youth. Expanding this program would only further benefit our communities, our state, and our country.
However, as a legal services organization serving individuals in immigration detention and immigrant children, RMIAN is gravely concerned about those prople left out of today's executive action and urges President Obama and Congress to do more.
Unfortunately, this executive action does nothing to protect the recently arriving unaccompanied children and families who are fleeing persecution, horrific abuse, and other violence in their home countries, only to face detention and expedited removal proceedings without basic due process protections. Unaccompanied children as young as three or four years old who have made perilous journeys to the United States for their safety and security still must face deportation proceedings without the guarantee of an attorney to protect their basic rights.
Similarly, individuals in immigration detention, many of whom include asylum-seekers and refugees, must face the heart-wrenching decision of remaining in detention in order to fight their removal cases, without any right to government-appointed counsel in complicated and challenging immigration proceedings.
One of RMIAN's clients recently spent over six months in immigration detention while he was fighting his asylum case. With the help of an attorney, he won his case, but the majority of men and women in detention are forced to represent themselves, at a severe disadvantage, in proceedigns with life and death stakes.
RMIAN's work will continue to focus on providing immigration legal services to the most marginalized populations in Colorado; those individuals in immigration detention and those children in Colorado who cannot afford an attorney and who otherwise would be forced to navigate a hostile and complicated immigration system entirely on their own.
RMIAN will be working to ensure that the populations we serve receive accurate information about the new program and eligibility criteria. We urge individuals to work with reputable and established legal service providers.
We urge President Obama and Congress to enact further protections for detained immigrants and children to protect their basic rights under the U.S. legal system.
The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) works to ensure justice for men and women in immigration detention for immigrant children who have suffered from abuse, neglect, or violence.
RMIAN is a nonprofit organization that serves low-income men, women, and children in immigration proceedings. RMIAN promotes knowledge of legal rights, provides effective representation to ensure due process, works to improve detention conditions, and promotes a more humane immigration system, including alternatives to detention.
We believe that justice for immigrants means justice for all. We respect the needs and celebrate the contributions of the individuals and communities that we serve. We believe our clients are equal partners in accessing justice. We value respect for all human beings, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or legal status. We believe in valuing and respecting the contributions of our board, staff, and volunteers. We believe in a working environment that fosters personal and professional growth and strives for excellence.
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