Families separated under the previous Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy were offered a potential path towards resolution of their legal cases with the long-awaited Ms. L v ICE settlement agreement late last year. The agreement, however, fell short: it created a streamlined process for families to apply for asylum but failed to provide them with lawyers to help them—despite ample evidence that it is extremely difficult to win a case without a lawyer. Without legal representation, many separated parents and children could face deportation and re-separation.
To help families overcome this barrier and access free legal assistance, KIND has joined with other organizations to launch a joint fundraising effort. The collaborative, which includes the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, Al Otro Lado, Justice in Motion, the National Immigration Project, and Together and Free, hopes to raise $3 million to support hundreds of class members that do not currently have legal representation.
KIND’s Senior Director of Special Programs Christie Turner-Herbas, who has worked on family reunification since 2018, said:
KIND has worked with forcibly separated parents and children since the earliest days of the family separation policy. This settlement, while welcome, is the start of yet another difficult journey for these families. To this point they have been denied fair and humane treatment; this egregious wrong will continue unless they are provided legal assistance to access their rights as provided by the settlement. Without counsel, most families will be unable to navigate this complex and novel process, and the hard-won justice provided by the settlement will be a hollow victory. Support for attorneys to represent separated families will help prevent re-separation and provide hope for a better future for these families, particularly the children who have already suffered more than any child should ever have to endure.
Learn more about the fundraiser here.