Immigrant Defender Law Center representing 10 Long Beach residents facing ICE deportation
The law center is the legal-service provider for the Long Beach Justice Fund.
October 16, 2019
Long Beach resident Manuel, who’s pseudo name was provided to protect his identity, has lived with his partner and worked in construction in the city for almost two decades.
He was recently arrested by Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) agents, who questioned his legal status. Following his arrest, the City of Long Beach provided Manuel with a lawyer, who was able to disprove the government’s allegations against him.
This is just one of the many client stories the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) shared in an recent report with Long Beach officials.
According to Vera, there are 10 Long Beach residents who are currently benefitting from the Long Beach Justice Fund’s services through representation from Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef).
The report was highlighted in an Oct. 11 memo from Acting City Manager Tom Modica in which he provided more information on the Long Beach Justice Fund (LBJF)–– a legal-defense program that provides services for low-income immigrants living or or working in Long Beach.
“Through the LBJF, lmmDef is currently representing 10 clients from Long Beach who have lived in the United States for an average of 11 years,” Modica wrote in the memo. “Additionally, three children have a parent represented through the LBJF.”
Most of the clients are being held at Adelanto Detention Facility in San Bernardino county. Because many of the cases are still active, information on the clients is not widely public, and names are changed as in the case of Manuel’s story.
Vera first reached out to the City earlier this year to become a member of the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network—a group of Cities that nationally that provide legal representation to immigrant families facing deportation, according to the report.
Katie Balderas, Long Beach Equity officer, told the Signal Tribune that the LBJF works with groups like the Long Beach Immigrants Rights Coalition (LBIRC) to receive cases from the community and refer them over to ImmDef if they qualify.
According to the LBJF website, ImmDef assists youths who have arrived to the US alone and face deportation, adults with mental-health issues and legal residents who face deportation because of unlawful conviction. In the last three months, fewer that one in five Long Beach immigrants have had a lawyer help assist with their case.
Funding for LBJF is collected from a $100,000 donation from Vera and $250,000 allocated by the City.
According to the website, individuals must live or work in Long Beach and earn a household income below 200% of the federal poverty level. Folks detained or not also qualify for the services.
Those interested in legal defense services can contact the Long Beach Community Defense Network at (562) 269-1083.