OAKLAND, CA – More than ever, immigrants and families will need experienced and qualified attorneys to fight against the Trump administration’s executive orders and policies of deportation and detention. Simultaneously there is an urgent need for a meaningful rapid response network to make sure the community is aware of their rights and can access counsel. Several East Bay organizations have joined together to form the Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP). The partnership will house removal defense immigration attorneys at both Centro Legal de la Raza and the Alameda County Office of the Public Defender. These attorneys will work closely with rapid responders at the following community based organizations: Black Alliance for Just Immigration, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, Causa Justa/Just Cause, The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Oakland Community Organizations, Street Level Health, and Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay.

Yesterday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $750,000 to the efforts of ACILEP. Last week, the City of Oakland finalized a vote to allocate $300,000 to ACILEP. The San Francisco Foundation is matching both the city and county funding. We thank the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda and The San Francisco Foundation for their leadership and quick response of solidarity in support of immigrant communities and families. “The practices announced in the executive orders, including a focus on additional immigration detention, will result in the increased separation of families and unlawful abuses against immigrants. ACILEP will challenge these practices and we will protect our community,” said Eleni Wolfe-Roubatis, Immigration Director at Centro Legal de la Raza.

ACILEP will provide critical legal and support services to Alameda County families facing the immediate threat of separation due to deportation. As stated by Raha Jorjani, Immigration Defense Attorney, Office of the Alameda County Public Defender, “This commitment to helping fund removal defense efforts is a critical step in defending access to Due Process for immigrant communities who have become direct targets of the new administration. An investment in the rights of the most vulnerable amongst us, is an investment in all of us.”

A hotline to access ACILEP legal and other rapid response services for anyone in Alameda County impacted by enforcement actions as well as information on weekly legal rights and education presentations throughout Alameda County will follow in the coming weeks.