Improving legal circumstances for those with no legal status
For Edwin Aly Ramirez of Greensboro, his first thought after being arrested on immigration charges was that he would never see his wife and three children again. Mr. Ramirez was asked about his status and arrested after he had gone to court to help translate for a friend. “I thought I would never get to meet my newborn,” he said.
That is the fear — and the daily reality — of 12 million people living in this country. They work in your office, clean your house, go to your school, and tomorrow, they might be gone.
Undocumented immigrants do not have the same right to due process and a fair trial afforded U.S. citizens. If immigrants cannot post bond immediately after entering Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, it can dramatically affect their case. Detainees are often accelerated into deportation proceedings, which are difficult to contest because they do not have the right to an attorney if they cannot afford one, face language barriers, and lack access to the documents they need to build their case while in custody.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice partnered with the National Immigrant Bond Fund to combat this injustice and pursue dignity and due process for immigrants.
Since September, SCSJ has used the Bond Fund to help seven families, including Edwin’s, by providing zero interest matching loans to immigrants who cannot afford to pay full bond. The Fund may play only a small role in the overall fight for human rights, but it has a dramatic and tangible impact on immigrant families.
“When immigrants are detained without being able to pay their bond, they are denied the ability to fully defend their right to stay in this country, which often unjustly results in their being deported without being able to see their families or tie up outstanding obligations,” said SCSJ staff attorney Marty Rosenbluth.
Edwin chokes up when he recalls his relief at seeing his three children after being released on bond. “I just want them to have a good life; a good education.”
For more information check out SCSJ’swebsite.
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