LOS ANGELES – A $1.25 million Immigration Relief Fund was announced by Councilman Curren Price Wednesday to help people in his district, with the money split between three major immigration rights organizations in Los Angeles.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights received $500,000, the Central American Resource Center received $500,000 and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration received $250,000.
The funding is aimed at assisting people in Council District 9, which Price’s office said is about 80% Latino and has a high proportion of people born outside of the United States.
“I see firsthand the contributions these individuals make, not only to our neighborhood, but our city as a whole,” Price said Wednesday morning outside City Hall.
Price said the $1.25 million is in addition to a total of $1.5 million his office has allocated to CHIRLA and CARECEN over the years.
“I trust these grants will do good work that I know they can. With these new funds, these immigrant rights organizations — and they’re giants, they’re not organizations, they’re really giants — will expand upon the work they’ve already been carrying out for years, but these resources will give them even more power,” he said.
CHIRLA will use its grant to expand free immigration consultations and community education and outreach in South L.A. It will also help cover the application and renewal fees for district residents who are seeking citizenship, legal permanent residence, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status and Temporary Protected Status, according to CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas.
“All the rest of the council districts are actually beneficiaries of this support, because if people come to the South L.A. Council District 9 (CHIRLA office) for support, they will be received … and so this investment goes way beyond Council District 9,” Salas said.
CARECEN Executive Director Martha Arevalo said the $500,000 grant will help the organization continue providing people with immigration legal services, including for those facing deportation proceedings, as well as those seeking citizenship, Temporary Protected Status and DACA status.
“Due process and representation and support is our constitutional right and is the right thing to do,” Arevalo said.
BAJI Executive Director Nana Gyamfi said the group would use its $250,000 grant for legal services for people seeking legal status in the United States and deportation defense, adding that Black people “are the most detained and deported all over the country, including the city of Los Angeles and including South L.A. even though we are a small percentage of the foreign- born population”
BAJI, in collaboration with the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, released a report in 2016 that said Black non-citizens make up 20% of those facing deportation on criminal grounds, despite representing only 7% of the non- citizen population.
“Many of our people who are facing deportation, are facing deportation because of their criminalization as Black people. Driving while Black, sleeping while Black, walking while Black, going to the store while Black. And that little bit of criminal contact now turns into a permanent separation from your family,” Gyamfi said.
She added that BAJI will also use the grant to help Black immigrants in Los Angeles learn English.
People can learn more about BAJI and its resources at baji.org. Information about CHIRLA is available at chirla.org, and CARECEN is at carecen- la.org.
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