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Legal Protection Fund Partners reach more than 35,000 Chicagoans in first nine months of 2020

CHICAGO (October 7, 2020) — Despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Chicago Legal Protection Fund reached more than 35,000 Chicagoans with free legal counsel and immigrant rights information in the first nine months of 2020.

The Fund’s partner organizations came together to reimagine the delivery of their services in the face of COVID-19 and rapidly shifting immigration policies. These policies included a Supreme Court ruling on the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; multiple closures and re-openings of the Chicago Immigration Court; escalating Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrest operations in Chicago neighborhoods; and anticipated application fee increases that were scheduled for early October, only to be delayed by a federal court ruling days before they were to take effect.

Under the Fund, in the first nine months of 2020, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) conducted more than 750 legal screenings and provided representation in more than 1,660 cases, including opening more than 300 new cases. NIJC, The Resurrection Project (TRP) and 10 Community Navigator organizations presented more than 850 Know Your Rights sessions to more than 35,950 people.

More details and stories about the Funds impact are laid out in a new report released today by NIJC and TRP. Read and download the report at immigrantjustice.org/LPFreport.

“Washington’s use of the pandemic to further demonize immigrants is immoral. With the city’s investment, we have helped ensure that Chicago immigrant communities remain safe and continue to make our city strong,” said NIJC Executive Director Mary Meg McCarthy. “Upholding access to immigration legal services and information about rights is critical to our city’s recovery.”

"The Legal Protection Fund partners are committed to educating our community on their rights as the Trump Administration continues their anti-immigrant rhetoric. We make it our mission to protect and prepare our community,” said TRP Vice President of Immigration Advocacy & Defense Eréndira Rendón. “Access to free legal representation is more important than ever.”

The Fund’s community navigator organizations are: Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Centro Romero, Enlace Chicago, Erie Neighborhood House, Hana Center, Indo-American Center, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Northwest Side Housing Center, Southwest Organizing Project, and United African Organization.

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The National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education.

The Resurrection Project is a multifaceted organization that seamlessly blends community development, community organizing, human service delivery, and advocacy to build healthier and engaged communities. TRP provides immigration services and advocacy strategies, creates and preserves affordable housing, provides financial education and counseling, and develops leaders who advocate for improving systems that achieve family stability and create vibrant, healthier and involved communities. For more information about The Resurrection Project, please visit www.resurrectionproject.org.