On this #GivingTuesday, will you consider standing up for the rights of immigrant children by giving as generously as you can to Safe Passage Project?
For siblings and Safe Passage clients Javier and Gabriela*, 10 and 13 years old, this holiday season is bittersweet. They fled violence and death threats in their native El Salvador and made the perilous journey, often on foot, to the United States. When they arrived at our border they formally turned themselves in and sought refuge. Our government placed them in deportation proceedings.
We met Javier and Gabriela when they arrived at immigration court on their own, without a lawyer to represent them. Safe Passage was able to connect the children to pro bono attorneys who have been trained and mentored by our expert staff. Javier and Gabriela have been released to the care of relatives in the Bronx and are currently attending school while their attorneys work on their case.
Without a well-prepared lawyer who understands our complex system, it is extremely unlikely that these children would even be able to complete the asylum application. The law is horribly complex. Recent data indicate that an immigrant child without a lawyer will be ordered deported 83% of the time. With a competent attorney, however, these children realize their rights and are ordered deported only 8% of the time. Having competent counsel makes the difference.
It is entirely because of supporters like you that we were able to take the cases of Javier and Gabriela and 581 other children with heart-breakingly similar stories.
Unfortunately, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric in our recent election, we can’t be entirely sure what is next for immigrant children. But we do know that we must continue to stand along side Javier and Gabriela – and to give them the most robust possible legal defense. And we know that we need your help now more than ever.
Our extremely lean organization benefits not only from pro bono attorneys and other volunteers, but also from in-kind office space and more. We raise money to pay for staff attorneys, social workers, and to support a robust pro bonotraining program. $1,000 is enough to provide 6 months of legal representation and social work services to a child facing deportation. $250 supports our work to train pro bonoattorneys on the intricacies of immigration law. And even $50 helps defray a child’s travel costs to and from court around NYC and Long Island.
Can you make a contribution today?
Thank you so much for being a part of our community and being willing to stand with Javier, Gabriela, and with Safe Passage Project.
— Rich Leimsider, Executive Director
*Our clients’ names were changed to protect their privacy.