Ayuda’s first citizenship/consulting clinic at CentroNia on April 7. Pictured here are Ayuda staff with pro bono attorneys from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Latham Watkins.
Six months ago, Ayuda received seed funding from the District Social Justice Fund, Marvin Brustin Foundation, Shlomo Foundation, and the Rose Fund to launch a Consultations, Orientation and Outreach Program (CO-OP). Through CO-OP, Ayuda provides “know your rights” training and immigration legal clinics at schools and other community centers.
To date, 218 immigrants from at least 15 countries have participated in 11 CO-OP legal clinics, including consultation clinics, family preparedness clinics, and two DACA clinics launched less than three weeks after the Administration rescinded DACA. One consultation clinic included emergency preparedness to help mixed-status families prepare for the possibility of detention or deportation of a parent or a family member.
The opportunity to help these families exceeded even our expectations, as we found nearly two-thirds of CO-OP participants to be eligible for some form of long-term legal protection or permanent immigration status. Ayuda has placed nearly 20 cases identified at our legal clinics with pro bono attorneys for full-representation, taken some full representation cases in-house, and referred others to partner agencies.
In a time where immigrant enforcement is on the rise and immigrants are increasingly fearful, the CO-OP program is proving highly effective in reaching and protecting immigrants.
We are grateful to CO-OP’s additional funders including the D.C. Mayor’s Office, Friends of Don Beyer, and Verizon.