New public-private regional program is first-in-nation to include a holistic approach to support immigrant households
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County (County) Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) announce the completion of an agreement to launch RepresentLA, a program to provide immigration legal representation and link immigrants in Los Angeles County and their families to critical support services. The agreement is between OIA serving as the County administrator and CHIRLA as the lead contractor.
RepresentLA is a public-private partnership funded by the County, the City of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. These partners worked together for more than a year to develop the program’s framework, applying lessons learned from their major investments in the immigration sector and input from nearly 100 public and community stakeholders.
A recent report by the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy highlights the devastating consequences when children and adults in removal proceedings go unrepresented. As leaders from around the hemisphere meet in Los Angeles to discuss regional migration challenges at the Summit of the Americas, RepresentLA stands for the bold commitment local leaders have undertaken to expand access to counsel and eliminate other barriers to immigrant integration.
RepresentLA includes four pillars to provide services in the following areas: removal defense for persons in immigration detention, removal defense for non-detained immigrants, affirmative immigration relief representation, and community support for clients and families during their immigration process. The community support pillar aims to ensure that historically underserved immigrant communities receive access to legal representation and connect clients and their families to holistic support services such as healthcare, housing resources, and wage protections. Anticipated additional funding from the County’s Department of Health Services will provide immigrants who are homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless with immigration legal representation, the first-of-its-kind effort in the nation.
To build and deliver these services, CHIRLA will partner with Immigrant Defenders Law Center for removal defense services, and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) for affirmative immigration relief services. These two organizations will work with CHIRLA to subcontract several other non-profit legal and social service providers to implement the full program in the coming months.
CHIRLA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Removal Defense Direct Representation Services in the coming days. CHIRLA will subsequently release an RFP to onboard community support providers and legal service providers to represent vulnerable immigrant populations to apply for various forms of affirmative immigration relief, including: immigrants experiencing homelessness, asylum seekers, survivors of labor trafficking and other severe workplace exploitation, and minors eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Following these competitive application processes to onboard service providers, RepresentLA is expected to begin accepting clients in the summer of 2022.