Our friends at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project were told they have to stop helping some immigrants – we won’t stand for that.
Today Legal Voice and 15 other organizations that advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking filed an amicus brief in federal court here in Washington State, supporting our friends at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP).
The brief, co-authored by Laura Clinton and friends at Baker McKenzie, was filed in a lawsuit NWIRP brought against the Department of Justice, after the DOJ sent NWIRP a letter telling them to “cease and desist” from providing legal support to immigrants short of complete representation of every person they serve. If that letter stays in effect, it will prevent thousands of immigrants in our communities from getting the legal help and the immigration relief to which they are entitled.
The results could be devastating, especially for survivors of gender-based violence, who have very specific immigration remedies that they need legal help to get. As the Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study found, survivors of domestic and sexual violence have the MOST unmet legal needs of any group in our state.
The DOJ’s letter to NWIRP would hurt immigrants, especially survivors of gender-based violence, and would prevent Washington lawyers from helping as many people as they can. And with overwhelming evidence that immigrants with legal representation or assistance are exponentially more likely to win their cases, we should do all we can to support those willing to help.