Authored by Sara Campos, Grove Foundation; Navin Moul, Zellerbach Family Foundation; and Kevin Douglas, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.
Despite the promise of a new administration, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers still face the threat of detention, deportation and hostile local and state policies. One way undocumented immigrants can feel safe is by obtaining legal status—an undertaking that is not easily accomplished, especially without access to legal representation. At the same time, the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on low-income, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities, of which many people are essential workers, made clear the need for philanthropy to deploy resources swiftly and with maximum flexibility to support critical community services—including immigration legal services.
As we emerge from the pandemic and face possible new opportunities with the Biden administration, funders should resource the immigrant justice movement, particularly the legal services ecosystem, and capitalize on efforts to create pathways to legalization for millions of immigrants in this country. This includes investments in targeted strategies that not only increase access to legal counsel for immigrants, but also strengthen the legal services infrastructure.
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