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connect / 2020

Los Angeles Asylum Legal Clinic and Resource Fairs Collaborative

Los Angeles Asylum Legal Clinic and Resource Fairs Collaborative

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by OneJustice

In 2019, we piloted the Asylum Legal Clinic & Resource Fairs with legal services organizations, pro bono attorneys, students & volunteer social workers. Through this collaboration we’ve served 80+ asylum seekers with Know Your Rights info, legal counsel & connection to critical social services. We aim to expand by providing assistance to a larger number of people & families seeking asylum. By building on the work of our partners & volunteers, we’ll connect more asylum seekers to vital resources to help them navigate and succeed in this country.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project
  • Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project has 4 years of experience hosting 150+ asylum clinics. Esperanza’s role would be to provide: Staff to supervise the clinics Training for volunteers Client materials Continued support for clinic participants throughout their cases

Central American Resource Center’s role would be to provide: Logistical Support/Overhead Costs Space to host the clinics Printing/copies Office Supplies Internet Equipment (laptops, projector, speakers) Food/snacks Supervising Attorney Legal Volunteers Outreach to Asylum seekers Outreach to Non Profit service providers + Relationship Building

OneJustice’s role would be to manage: Volunteer recruitment Design virtual platform Project & grant management

What is the need you’re responding to?

The US asylum system is being dismantled by the Trump administration through dangerous and immoral policies such as family separations, metering, the asylum ban, and the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The administration has created insurmountable barriers for refugees trying to access our asylum system. In the past years, we have seen an increasing number of non-detained asylum seekers in need of representation and legal guidance. In Los Angeles, over 100,000 individuals in removal proceedings do not have access to legal counsel and therefore face violations in due process procedures. We know that with legal defense individuals’ success rate in court increases 5x. Unfortunately, there is a lack of capacity among pro-bono legal service providers. To address this unmet need in Los Angeles we activated our network, bringing together legal service providers and private attorneys to increase access to legal services for asylum seekers.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

OneJustice advances the impact of the legal services delivery system by building the capacity of the legal aid nonprofits that comprise the system through the use of pro bono private sector resources. As a statewide support center for legal services organizations, we work with partner organizations to build up their capacity by training and mobilizing volunteer attorneys and law students to provide pro bono legal services to people throughout California who have limited access to legal help due to systemic, regional, and economic barriers. OneJustice partners with law firms, law schools, corporations, and legal services organizations to implement free legal clinics in rural and isolated communities throughout California in order to connect communities with free, high-quality legal services. Since 2009, OneJustice’s pro bono program has engaged over 2,000 pro bono volunteers, implemented over 190 immigration clinics, and provided legal assistance to over 3,500 immigrants.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Asylum application clinics are part of a national effort to ensure unrepresented asylum seekers have access to due process. In FY 2019, unrepresented asylum seekers had an 84% denial rate at their immigration court hearings in LA. As the number of asylum seekers in need of support to navigate procedural intricacies exponentially increases, trained volunteers supervised by experienced attorneys give asylum seekers a better chance of winning their cases. Until we have publicly funded universal legal representation to ensure asylum seekers have their fair day in court, efficient pro bono services can build capacity. Mobilizing volunteers and law students exponentially increases access to legal assistance for asylum seekers and their families.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

LA’s immigration legal services nonprofits cannot currently meet the growing legal needs of asylum seekers in LA. With this grant, our collaborative hopes to implement a strong infrastructure of regular volunteers and expand access to justice by ensuring that all individuals and families seeking asylum in LA who cannot afford an attorney are equipped to meaningfully represent themselves in immigration court with correctly filled out asylum applications. In the short-term, our goal is to implement quarterly large-scale virtual or in-person Asylum Legal Clinics and Resource Fairs to respond to the immediate needs of pro se asylum seekers who have upcoming immigration court cases in Los Angeles and connect them to legal, mental health, medical, and comunity services and resources. We will track the following quantitative metrics to help us gauge our success: the number of trained volunteers; the number of asylum seekers provided legal and social services; the number of asylum applications completed and reviewed by a supervising attorney; the number of social services organizations and City departments engaged as partners.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Volunteerism
  • Immigrant integration

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support