CALA’s Commitment to Our Communities, Partners, and Clients
Last Tuesday 11/8/16 was a hard day for us—for everyone who believes in justice and equality for all people. We at CALA have spent the past week processing the wounds the election has inflicted on us, our families, and the communities we serve. But we’ve also been preparing ourselves to fight: to fight as hard as we can, in every way possible, against every threat that the government poses, and will pose.
CALA was founded to unite lawyers and activists together, and such collaborations will be desperately needed during the upcoming Trump administration. We promise that CALA’s commitment to working in genuine partnership with communities and activists will not only endure but grow stronger. We are more determined than ever to bringing community-located, community-collaborative, and community-directed free legal services to those threatened by insidious ideology, including undocumented immigrants, laborers, sex workers, and progressive activists.
In light of campaign and post-election statements by Donald Trump regarding the deportation of up to 3 million immigrants, we have developed the following recommendations and strategies to support not only our current partner communities but all immigrants without access to an attorney.
1. Priority and Increased Resources. CALA will prioritize and increase its resources for free legal services to low-income undocumented immigrants.
a. All of CALA’s staff will take on additional work to support initiatives focused on responding to, and protecting those targeted by, Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
b. CALA will develop and support additional pro bono work for immigrants from private attorneys and law firms.
2. Vigilance. We will create an attorney position to specifically monitor and strategize responses to potential threats in collaboration with our partner communities and organizations across the country.
3. Attorney Consultations & CALA Helpline. CALA strongly recommends that all legal permanent residents (green card holders) and undocumented immigrants consult with an attorney as soon as possible. We have created a helpline, 872-267-CALA (2252), to provide legal consultations for any undocumented immigrant who is not able to consult with an attorney. We will respond no later than 48 hours to any calls involving recent detentions, 72 hours to calls related to removal proceedings, and 7 days to all other calls.
4. Screening Workshops. We will work with our partners to hold large-scale screening events, at which we will provide free immigration screenings and legal consultations.
5. Know Your Rights. All immigrants should ensure that they know their rights in dealing with immigration and police officials, and how to handle potential issues arising from these interactions. Therefore, CALA will offer free Know Your Rights immigration presentations and trainings to any community that would like to host one.
6. Citizenship Workshops. All green card holders should consult with an attorney about naturalization as soon as they are eligible. We will increase the frequency and quantity of our citizenship workshops. Please check our website, Facebook page, and e-newsletter for upcoming dates.
7. DACA. CALA will continue to offer DACA services, but only for current DACA recipients seeking renewal who have not had any change in circumstances. We advise against submitting initial applications or renewal applications with material changes such as a change of address or new criminal arrest issues.
8. Advance Parole. We do not recommend applying, and will no longer offer services, for advance parole, except for emergency situations.
9. Immigration Relief Applicants. CALA does not recommend that, absent very extenuating circumstances such as urgent deadlines, undocumented immigrants who have recently arrived; have criminal records; or have been suspected of gang involvement, terrorism, or espionage submit any applications until we have greater clarity regarding the changes that the new administration will make to immigration laws, regulations, and policies. We will continue to offer services for other forms of immigration relief; however, we will not submit most applications on behalf of clients who may be targeted by any deportation agenda set by Donald Trump from now until February 2017. For clients with pending applications, we will closely monitor their situations and contact any client about whom we have concerns.
10. Coalition Building. While undocumented immigrants are the immediate targets, Trump has made clear that his administration will seek to hurt many minority groups. We must ensure that all groups opposed to his divisive, hate-filled ideology work together in the upcoming struggle. CALA hopes its work with diverse communities and activists can contribute to cross-movement coalitions.
Please let us know if there are any other concerns that you would like for us to address, or if there are any other ways that CALA can help. Please also consult our website or Facebook page for future updates as we learn more about how things are developing. Finally, and most importantly, know that we will stand with you, and we will fight alongside you.
Solidarity in Resistance,
CALA (Community Activism Law Alliance)