In 2019, our clients faced enormous challenges from the current racist and xenophobic Presidential Administration. From unprecedented human rights abuses at the southern border to an unconstitutional new wealth test for immigrants, the year was further proof that the United States’ immigration system is rooted in White supremacy.
Yet in the midst of challenges we face today, 2019 feels like a very long time ago. The relentless and horrifying images of Black community members murdered by police officers and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have exposed for many more people the truth of systemic racial inequities in this country. But during these ongoing crises it is vital that we recognize the power and hope that comes from being in community with one another.
Together, we provided direct legal services to over 11,000 community members in 2019, helping them stay together with their loved ones, find protection from violence in their homes or home countries, and pursue new opportunities in work, education, and civic engagement. Together, we filed legal challenges against racist laws and policies, from attempts to further expand immigration detention to racial profiling by the police. And together, we’ve grown into one of the largest immigration legal services organizations in the United States.
These successes are a testament to all of us coming together as community members, clients, activists, donors, volunteers, and staff. There is much more to be done. There is more injustice to be fought. But as the stakes get higher, we are confident that we will continue defending and advancing the rights of immigrants – together.
Jorge L. Barón