By Karaline Bridgeford
“Advocate. Educate. Represent.” This is the mantra of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), a nonprofit serving low-income immigrants and refugees by providing them with invaluable legal representation, advocacy, and educational services.
Given the present political climate and the real fear among immigrants across the U.S., ILCM’s work is more critical than ever. ILCM notes that in the last year, immigration arrests in Minnesota and adjoining states have risen by more than 80 percent. Since Trump’s inauguration, the office has seen a “two-fold increase in calls with requests for information, a four-fold increase in requests to present and provide Know Your Rights and other education information, and an immeasurable increase in fear and uncertainty in our immigrant communities.”
In a time when immigrants are under attack, their ability to find fair legal counsel often means the difference between remaining in the U.S. or facing deportation to a country where they may fear for their and their family’s safety. A letter recently circulated by the The American Immigrant Representation Project noted that immigrants with legal representation are 14 times more likely to successfully challenge their deportation and remain in the U.S. than those without.
The ILCM boasts an impressive track record of defending low-income immigrants and refugees. In 2015, the organization provided legal services to 4,615 immigrants and refugees from 104 different countries. Its 238 pro bono attorneys donated 2,840 hours of service to ILCM clients and their families.
We at HIP are proud of the U.S.’s history as a “melting pot” of cultures and ideas, and we know that immigrants are part of what makes America great. That’s why we are excited to support ILCM through #LatinxsBelong in fulfilling its mantra and insuring that all immigrants have the right to legal advocacy, education, and representation.