Friday, April 13, 2018, CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) held their UCARE (Unaccompanied Central America Refugee Empowerment) Coalition Meeting at a small church near Beverly and Alvarado Blvds. The attendees included the broadest group of active legal and immigrant advocacy members I've encountered so far. The diversity of their offerings and efforts was almost overwhelming to comprehend, but I'll attempt to summarize some things that were discussed here. First, however, I will start with two discoveries of primary interest to those I've been working with.
1) Esperanza, a group sponsored by the Catholic Charities of LA, offers legal orientation and representation for immigrant detainees. I asked if they might be able to offer a legal orientation workshop for those of us visiting detainees, so that we might better understand the court process they're navigating. She responded that she'd be happy to arrange that, and perhaps it might help refer qualified immigrants in detention to them for representation. So please spread the word to anyone you know doing visitation, and let's see if we can arrange this. Please let me know if this is of interest to you.
2) David Abud, from NDLON and "ICE out of LA," reported that their group offers 3-4 hour "Deportation Defense Clinics" on the first Saturday of every month, and they are looking for churches to host them. He later sent the application form, which I will attach to this email. They have upcoming clinics in Palmdale and Baldwin Park.
For more information about our Deportation Defense Legal Clinics that we put on once a month, and to fill out an application for your space to host a legal clinic, please see our Host Application Form.
Please also find attached our legal clinic flyers for our clinic on May 5th at the Pilipino Workers Center. If you have any questions, please dont hestitate to contact me. Thank you!
davíd ricardo abud
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
674 S. La Fayette Park Place
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Following are some notes from the rest of the coalition meeting. I couldn't hear or understand a lot of people's names or the organizations they were from, but hopefully this will help spread the word of some local opportunities and available resources.
Best, Arthur Kegerreis
CLUE's Guillermo Torres ran the meeting. The coalition was founded in 2014, and includes over 50 participating organizations providing advocacy and defense for immigrant adults and unaccompanied minors.
He reported on the well supported:
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles - Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service
In 2015 over 100 families sought help, (either from CLUE or the Episcopal Diocese - my notes were incomplete) and 80-90 of them got legal help.
The Episcopal Diocese also offers mentors to unaccompanied minors.
They need a volunteer to help manage a database of transportation to and from Adelanto.
I think Guillermo Torres would know the contact for this opportunity, and the following two items.
Diane Smith is helping administer a UCARE fund for discharged minors, helping with legal and bond expenses.
CLUE also has a Youth Care Fund, which offers gift cards to Ralphs and Food for Less, and for Target for clothes and other supplies.
Nicole Mitchell administers the family enrollment and healthcare service enrollment for LAUSD. She discussed some of the concerns of immigrants in the school system, mentioning that students are allowed to stay in high school up to the age of 22, allowing them to get a high school diploma; all are entitled to 4 years of high school education. This is typically a better option than adult school, where they won't earn any credit. Their partnership with local community colleges guarantees one free year of college for anyone graduating from high school. They are also offering know your rights workshops for the students.
They offer this education & immigration resource guide for families and students:
This article on their website is also note-worthy:
Students At-risk of Deportation to Receive Legal Representation
A woman from CARECEN explained some of their pro-bono legal services to me in a conversation before the coalition meeting began. This is their website:
Three speakers from Immigrant Defenders Law Center ( https://www.immdef.org/
) described some of their activities. They have about 1000 active cases with unaccompanied minors and help with some mental health support as well as legal issues.
Patricia Ortiz, Exec. Director of Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
Discussed some of the challenges they are facing: Sessions and the BIA have been trying to fast-track the court process, stopping continuances and making defending the cases harder. They just received notice that the DOJ is cutting their funding significantly at the end of the month. They are one of 5 organizations offering Immigration Court Help Desk programs, and one of 20 offering orientation in detention centers. Last year between 5,000 and 6,000 people received assistance from them. They offer a legal orientation program at Adelanto, helping with intakes and pro-bono referrals.
Pastor Farley from The North Hills United Methodist Church runs one of four welcome centers for unaccompanied minors. The others are in Huntington Park, Riverside, and Escondido.
They have an upcoming Immigration and Citizenship Assistance Clinic on May 5 from 10-1pm. North Hills United Methodist Church Center
15435 Rayen Street
North Hills, CA 91343
The California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church
also runs a summer camp at Camp Colby in the Angeles Crest forest from June 21-24th.
There are up to 50 kids, from mid-high school age to 21 years of age.
They need counselors (especially males), therapists, and workshop presenters. Bilingual applicants are preferred.
Father Richard Estrada from Jovenes http://www.jovenesinc.org/
mentioned that his organization helps asylee kids from age 18-24. They pick up kids from detention, help them pay their rent, and "do all kinds of services."
Riquelmi Gomez, Staff Atty.
The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights,
He described their advocacy organization. They have 8-12 offices, one in a shelter, and help advocate for the best interests of the unaccompanied minors, which sometimes involve negotiating repatriation. Often children are separated from their parents in detention or interrogations, and their organization helps advocate for the childrens' care.
They are at capacity for volunteers, but may have need for 3-4 bilingual spanish speakers.
They have a 2 day training for their volunteers. It requires a background check since they will be working with children in the shelters. They need indigenous language speakers from the north central triangle. Their relationships with the children are ongoing and don't end when the case is finished.
They help with referral services for minors when they are released, with the qualification that they must have come from Office of Refugee Resettlement custody at some point.
Zee or Dee Richmond from Leo Baeck Temple, near the Getty Center, mentioned their efforts, which I believe are part of the Reform CA movement:
Another synagogue, I believe Israel Synagogue in Hollywood, mentioned that they have a teenage philanthropy group that is addressing immigration issues.
Nancy from Presbyterian Refugee and Immigrant Task Force mentioned that they offer grants through their "self development of people" program, offering startup development capital for people in poor communities. Their websites mention lots of related resources and efforts from their community: