ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian sits down with Mekela Goehring, Executive Director of RMIAN, to discuss the consequences of ending the program and the most important things immigration detainees and their families should know.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock and members of City Council have submitted a letter to the Department of Justice urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), a program the department plans to halt starting April 30, 2018. The LOP, which educates detained immigrants about their rights and provides essential information, counseling, and other services, is critical to helping immigrants make informed decisions about their cases.
Former RMIAN client, Alvaro (pictured above), was in detention five years ago after entering the country as a human trafficking victim from Mexico. Because of legal aid he received, he was able to fight his case and obtain a green card. He now works construction in Denver. Colorado Public Radio talks to Alvaro and RMIAN staff members about the Department of Justice's decision to suspend funding for the Legal Orientation Program (LOP).
Effective April 30, the Department of Justice is suspending funding for know-your-rights trainings at immigrant detention centers, including at Colorado’s sole detention center, in Aurora. Run by the private prison company GEO Group, the facility can house up to 1,500 detainees going through immigration proceedings.
Yesterday the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) learned that the Department of Justice is ending funding for the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), effective April 30, 2018. The Legal Orientation Program provides essential legal information to individuals in civil immigration detention who are navigating complex immigration deportation proceedings, including here in Colorado.
RMIAN Executive Director, Mekela Goehring, writes for The Colorado Lawyer's April 2018 issue. This piece is part of the Access to Justice Series, which explores the access to justice gap in Colorado. Contributions were made by Phil Barber, an attorney in Denver and longtime pro bono attorney with RMIAN.
RMIAN's Executive Director Mekela Goehring participated in a Facebook Live event on immigration on March 20, 2018, led by Mayor Hancock, and joined by panelists Jamie Torres (City of Denver), Juan Gallegos (CIRC), and Kit Taintor (State Refugee Coordinator). The group discussed the City's new Immigrant Legal Services Fund.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver City Council, and members of the Denver community today launched the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund to provide access to legal representation for qualified individuals threatened with or in removal proceedings and individuals seeking affirmative relief - including DACA or DREAM Act-related relief.
The Immigration Justice Campaign recently launched a new website filled with terrific information, resources, and volunteer opportunities. RMIAN is proud to be a partner in this initiative that increases access to counsel for immigrants held in detention in Colorado.
It is unknown how long USCIS will continue to accept DACA renewal applications, so individuals who wish to apply may want to do so quickly. Individuals who believe they may be eligible to apply to renew their DACA and who cannot afford a private attorney may contact the RMIAN's Children's Program for a free consultation by calling 303-433-2812. Individuals who can afford to are encouraged to consult with a licensed immigration attorney.