Press Release

$7.4 Million Awarded to 17 Legal Nonprofit Organizations to Provide Free Legal Representation

Press Release | November 27, 2017
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Hundreds of vulnerable immigrants estimated to receive access to free legal representation through innovative L.A. Justice Fund

LOS ANGELES – November 27, 2017 –The L.A. Justice Fund has awarded $7,450,000 to 17 L.A. based nonprofit legal service providers to bolster and expand access to legal representation for individuals facing immigration detention and deportation. The L.A. Justice Fund is a unique public-private partnership between Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, the Weingart Foundation, and the California Community Foundation (CCF).

As fears in the immigrant community have dramatically escalated in response to increased federal immigration enforcement, Los Angeles leaders have joined forces to help address the rising demand for legal representation.

“In the face of increased federal immigration enforcement, Los Angeles is stepping up with the L.A. Justice Fund to provide support, hope and access to justice for our immigrant communities,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “I am hopeful that L.A. County’s $3 million dollar contribution to the L.A. Justice Fund will make a world of difference in the lives of many immigrants who could not otherwise afford a lawyer, as they face deportation and being torn apart from their families and their lives here in Los Angeles. L.A. County will always protect, defend, and fight for our immigrants.”

“The most vulnerable members of our communities — children and victims of domestic violence — should not have to face even greater risk because they cannot afford legal representation,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We want to help keep families together by giving people in need access to the protections in our legal system, and that’s what the L.A. Justice Fund will do. This partnership shows that we value fair and equal justice for all Angelenos.”

Today, more than two thirds of detained individuals are unrepresented in their deportation proceedings. Representation matters: detained immigrants who have lawyers are five times more likely to succeed in challenges to their deportation.

Like Solis, other members of the County’s Board of Supervisors praised the L.A. Justice Fund as fulfilling a critical and urgent need rippling across the region.

“Legal representation is fundamental to the exercise of basic rights and L.A. County is committed to that basic principle,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Sheila Kuehl. “Given the threats now faced by so many in our immigrant communities, the County has taken special steps through the L.A. Justice Fund to ensure that no one is deported without a strong legal defense.”

“The L.A. Justice Fund will assist our most vulnerable immigrants, particularly children and victims of domestic violence, so they have an opportunity to remain in the country they have come to call home,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “With this innovative public-private partnership, we can help ensure they can exercise their right to legal representation, regardless of ability to pay.”

Said Supervisor Janice Hahn: “Many immigrants have legal pathways to staying in this country—but without legal representation, they may never be able to make their case. Through the L.A. Justice Fund, we are fortifying our nation’s core principle of due process and allowing our immigrant neighbors their fair day in court.”

The L.A. Justice Fund will increase access to legal representation for immigrants in removal proceedings by supporting a network of nonprofit agencies and legal service providers. Following a rigorous review, nonprofits were awarded two-year grants.

“There is nothing more troubling than visiting an immigration court to see one immigrant after another subject to deportation because they simply don’t have legal representation,” said Judy London, Directing Attorney, Public Counsel and L.A. Justice Fund grantee. “Because of the Fund, people are going to have lawyers who are going to aggressively fight for their rights.”

The Fund aims to prioritize the most vulnerable populations in the immigrant community, including children and victims of sex trafficking. With this increased funding, grantee organizations will be able to address their most pressing needs, including hiring more immigration lawyers and strengthening their organization’s removal defense programs through training workshops and expanded resource and expertise sharing. Grantees will also be able to broaden partnerships between pro-bono and nonprofit legal service providers.

“It is urgently important that we have come together to support Los Angeles’ immigrant communities at this time, and safeguard our values of diversity, inclusion and equity,” said Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “The L.A. Justice Fund is another excellent example of the City, County, and philanthropy working together with nonprofits, with dollars going to provide legal representation to the families that need it most.”

“We are stronger when we partner across sectors. Addressing the complex challenges our immigrant communities face requires collective effort.” said Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation. “The cross sector collaboration of the L.A. Justice Fund is a model for developing and implementing impactful solutions.”

Click here for a list of the L.A. Justice Fund grantees.  

Press Contacts:

Michael Kapp, Communications Director, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, (213) 974-4111

Andrea Garcia, Press Secretary for Spanish media, Los Angeles City Mayor, Eric Garcetti, (213) 978-1794

Susan Dunn, Communications Consultant, Weingart Foundation, (818) 762-4708

Roshin Mathew, Communications Director, California Community Foundation, (213) 377-5630