Legal Defense Fund

CARECEN needs your help to continue providing low and no-cost bilingual legal and community support services to Latino immigrants in the Washington metropolitan area. For over 30 years CARECEN has met the legal needs of Latinos in the area, facilitating their transition to the United States, and providing them with the resources and tools necessary to become thriving and engaged community members.

What is the Legal Defense Fund?

Since 2009, our legal director, two paralegals and the addition of two Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellows have allowed us to better meet the Latino community’s growing needs.  Last year, CARECEN established a Legal Defense Fund to sustain its expanded legal program and services. The program assists more than 3,000 community members each year with naturalization, obtaining and maintaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS), family visa petitions, adjustment of status, consular processing, legal relief for crime victims through U Visas and the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), asylum relief, and deportation defense.

CARECEN provides an invaluable link between the community we serve and the legal system they struggle to navigate. The community counts on CARECEN to help protect their rights.  CARECEN also educates the community with workshops on immigrants’ rights and responsibilities, preparation for legalization, citizenship, and avoiding notario fraud scams.  Furthermore, CARECEN provides essential information and resources on taxes, employment, elder law issues and access to public benefits.

WHY THIS YEAR IS SO IMPORTANT?

On June 15th, the Obama administration announced its decision to exercise prosecutorial discretion to extend a special immigration legal status to certain young people who “were brought into this country as children and know only this country as home”.  Immediately following the announcement, CARECEN received hundreds of calls requesting information about the policy, and we have mounted a major initiative to respond to young people who stand to benefit from this program.  We are holding regular workshops on site and in the community and are in the process of developing informative materials and creative communications, expanding our public outreach, and preparing to take cases of individuals who qualify for relief.

In June, CARECEN received notice that we would not receive Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps funding for this year.   Losing these two attorneys would be a substantive blow to our programs and clients.  CARECEN is working to sustain one of the positions, and at the same time increase our volunteer and pro bono efforts to meet the ongoing needs of the community, as well as respond to deferred action applicants.

wHAT IS OUR GOAL?

Our goal is to raise $60,000 through the end of this year– allowing us to sustain one of the immigration attorney positions formerly funded by EJW Americorps.  Your support will help to:

  • Serve the many hard-working and deserving youth who now have a chance to live their lives in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
  • Secure desperately needed legal assistance to domestic violence victims seeking U-visas, working parents trying to petition for their underage children, or dedicated parents fighting deportation in order to raise their U.S. citizen children.
  • Cover fees for clients living below the poverty line, making them eligible to receive support that they otherwise couldn’t afford.

Help CARECEN to continue building a promising future for thousands of low-income Latinos in the D.C. area!

How can you support vital legal services to Latinos?

MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION TO THE CARECEN LEGAL DEFENSE FUND TODAY! Please remember to designate your donation.  Our goal is to raise $60,000 through the end of the year– allowing us to sustain the legal program at its current capacity, while serving more Latinos in the area at low or no cost and responding to their emerging legal needs. You may also send a check or money order to CARECEN-Legal Defense Fund, 1460 Columbia Road, NW #C1, Washington, DC 20009.