D.C. Council Approves $2.5 Million for Immigrant Justice Legal Services!

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We are thrilled to share that on Tuesday the D.C. Council gave final approval to $2.5 million in funding for the Immigration Justice Legal Services (IJLS) grant program in order to keep immigrant families together!

A robust coalition of legal service providers, faith congregations, university students, and community members advocated for this funding under the name “DC Values Means Keeping Immigrant Families Together.”

Join us in reflecting on the profound impact this program will have for DC’s immigrant residents. The nearly threefold increase in funding will enable many TPS and DACA recipients to find ways to remain in the District. It will empower Washingtonians with permanent residency to pursue U.S. citizenship and the many protections and benefits that come with it. It will defend the rights of unaccompanied minors, refugees, and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in our area. And it will provide support to immigrant youth in D.C. in the form of legal consultations and after-school services.

We applaud the Mayor and the D.C. Council for prioritizing robust immigrant legal defense in this year’s budget.

At the same time, the DC Values coalition is still advocating with the Mayor to open up the IJLS funds to detained immigrant representation. D.C. residents who have been detained by ICE equally deserve a fair shot at remaining with their families and communities.

Many of you have asked when we will know whether the $2.5 million will also support our detained immigrant neighbors. We expect to know by early July whether the restriction has been lifted, and by early fall whether these services have been funded. We will continue to share updates with you, as well as opportunities to make your voice heard.

Meanwhile, nearby Fairfax County (new window) and Alexandria (new window) both approved universal representation pilot programs to aid their own residents facing deportation. They join P.G. County and Baltimore in funding detained immigrant representation – and hopefully D.C. will be next!

As the fiscal year draws to a close, we are grateful for the tireless advocacy of immigrants, students, activists, service providers, and people of faith – which ultimately secured D.C.’s bold investment in protecting immigrant rights.