Local law firms received a grant from the Vera Institute of Justice on Tuesday to fund attorneys defending immigration cases.
The Dane County Immigration Coalition announced the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Law School and the Community Immigration Law Center received the Safe Cities grant.
The grant totaled $100,000, and Dane County was one of 12 locations across the United States to win the grant, according to an article from The Cap Times.
Grant Sovern, president of the board at CILC, said this money will help these local organizations hire more immigration defense attorneys to represent people facing deportation hearings.
“If they don’t have money, they don’t get a lawyer,” Sovern said.
Madison community rallies in support of DACA recipientsIn response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, University of Wisconsin students and community Read…
Before the grant, there was one part-time immigration attorney providing services pro bono, Sovern said. Since deportation hearings are civil matters, defendants don’t get a public defender.
CILC will be able to hire a full-time immigration attorney, with more help from the UW law clinic, Sovern said. The new partnership with Vera will also provide technical assistance, data collection and training for other attorneys.
Vera’s website stated their mission is to urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety and strengthen communities.
Dane County Board carves path for undocumented immigrants hoping to become citizensAs conversation on immigration reform at the federal level intensifies, the Dane County Board of Supervisors moved forward with programs aimed Read…
According to the executive director of Centro Hispano, Karen Melendez Coller, many immigrants travel to Chicago or Milwaukee for help with their defense.
The Vera grant is one of several pushes by the county to support its immigrant residents, according to The Cap Times.
Sovern said that a defense attorney does not guarantee that the clients will not be deported, but studies have shown that defendants who have a lawyer have a much better chance.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said local leaders do not agree with the actions being taken by the federal government.
“In Dane County we welcome you, we respect you, we stand with you, we’re here to assist you during these challenging times,” Parisi said.