From The Rev. Cn. Dr.
Please read and pray upon this request from the Immigrant Task Force.
SUPPORT THE IMMIGRANT LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Immigration Task Force invites members of the diocese support the Immigrant Legal Defense Fund administered by Faith in the Valley. This fund helps provide initial legal services to immigrants at immediate risk of deportation who cannot afford an attorney when they present to Immigration Court. The Immigrant Legal Defense Fund will help provide an attorney and to prevent unnecessary deportations.
We invite clergy and lay leaders to consider a special collection at the end of services throughout the Diocese to support the Immigrant Legal Defense Fund. Please make checks out to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and put “Legal Defense Fund” on the “memo” line of the check.
As a result of new policies, immigrants are at a higher risk of being deported and separated from their families. The vast majority of the people that are being detained and deported are working people and not violent criminals, gang members or drug dealers. Studies estimate that about 45% of the undocumented immigrants in the United States initially entered the US legally, but overstayed their visas without authorization. Unauthorized entry into the United States is a misdemeanor, like a parking ticket. Overstaying a visa is also not a federal crime, but rather is a civil violation, dealt with through immigration court proceedings.
Presently, an accused immigrant who cannot afford an attorney, is not represented in immigration court. Studies show that “immigrants with attorneys’ fare better at every stage of the court process;” in other words, people presenting to immigration court without an attorney representing them will most likely be deported. In contrast, a person who has an attorney will probably not be deported. The cost of a defense attorney is about $2,000-5000, which is often prohibitive, resulting in people being deported because they cannot afford an attorney.
The diocesan Immigration Task Force invites you to pray and ponder how your community can contribute to the Legal Defense Fund. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
St. James Episcopal Cathedral
Member of the San Joaquin Diocese Immigration Task Force