Immigrant Defender Law Center to Provide Immigration Legal Services for Long Beach Justice Fund

24 Apr

Long Beach immigrant rights advocates, at a press conference in the courtyard of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 525 E. 7th Street, on Wednesday, April 17, announced that the Immigrant Defenders Law Center will provide immigration legal services for the Long Beach Justice Fund.

At the press conference, Long Beach First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, who is in a run-off for the 33rd California Senate District, said, “As a city councilmember that represents over 60 percent my district which is Latino, when I have Cambodian families that are crying because they have had families separated, when we know that our Filipino friends have had less opportunities because of the fact that they are not documented.  All of this today is because of their tireless work and support.”

The video below has Councilwoman Gonzalez’s statement.

 

 

 

In the city press release the previous day, Mayor Robert Garcia said, “Long Beach is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and immigrants make big contributions to the culture, economy and spirit of our city.”  The Justice Fund will work to support immigrants and keep families together.”

Lindsay Toczylowski, the Executive Director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, said, “Now when Long Beach residents are detained by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the mostly likely place they will go is one of the most hopeless places in all of California, in Adelanto, California, in the high desert, where there is a huge, for-profit prison that does ICE’s dirty work for it in holding our community members there, where people are very unlikely to have representation, Long Beach will be giving them hope….Ninety miles from downtown Los Angeles, where there are very few people with representation, we will be sending Immigrant Defenders lawyers in to meet with Long Beach residents to represent them and we know that with representation they are 1,100 percent (11 times) more likely to win their case.”

 

Toczylowski graduated from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, according to the Immigrant Defenders website.  After the press conference, she said the fund provides “universal representation” meaning it could apply to anyone facing deportation in Long Beach regardless of criminal history and pointed out that this is “a commitment to due process for all.”  Toczylowski said one full-time attorney would be assigned as well as some management staff and that the possible number cases handled any year may be from 20 to 40.

Tania Sawczuk, of the Vera Institute of Justice, whose website states its mission is “to improve justice systems that ensure fairness,” said, “The people of Long Beach understand that the stakes are high in immigration court and that fairness dictates that no one should have to face exile from their communities, their family, their children, simply because they cannot afford an attorney.  One of the tenets of our nation is due process of law.  And, without access to legal representation, you can have no due process.”

According to the same city press release quoting the mayor, the selection of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center was “made through a competitive request for proposal process overseen by the City in partnership with Vera and community members.”

 

With the one-time $250,000 grant from the city of Long Beach and the one-time $100,000 catalyst grant from the Vera Institute of Justice, the Justice Fund is now $350,000.  The Long Beach Post, April 17, reported that no additional funding beyond the first two years has been found yet.

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Maria Lopez (Center), Director of Community Organizing for Housing Long Beach, emceed the April 17 press conference, announcing the selection of Immigrant Defenders Law Center for the Long Beach Justice Fund; photo by Barry Saks

 

 

 

 

One Response to “Immigrant Defender Law Center to Provide Immigration Legal Services for Long Beach Justice Fund”

  1. elskipporoo Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

    THANKS, GOOD STUFF.

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