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Nov 9, 2015 6:18 EDT

Help! The roof is leaking: Our roof is more broken than the immigration system we battle with our clients every day

iCrowdNewswire - Nov 9, 2015

Help! The roof is leaking

Class of Spring/Summer 2015


the project

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is a 30-year-old organization in El Paso, Texas that provides immigration legal services for asylum seekers and low-income immigrants.  Our clients typically find themselves trapped at the intersection of inadequate immigration policies and extreme economic disparities on the literal frontlines of the U.S. immigration debate.


More than 60% of all the clients that we work for are in immigration limbo because they’ve managed to escape from violence in their home countries.  Recently we’ve also been working to shut down family immigration prisons that have already been declared illegal and unconstitutional.


We’re a small but scrappy team.  We fight hard and we’re good at what we do.  What we’re not very good at… is managing our property.


As you might imagine, providing high-quality legal services for some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community is an expensive commitment.  We own our property which includes a free-standing (approx. 600 sq. ft.) building that we rent out to help keep our staff in the fight for people’s lives, literally, in too many cases.  During recent heavy rainstorms, we’ve discovered that the roof leaks really badly.  We need to fix it quickly because we’ve found a tenant who loves us, weathered roof and all, and is anxious to move in!


We’re in a difficult situation lately, with very little cash on hand.  We’ve fought hard just to keep the lights on over the last especially tough months because we understand our community’s huge need for what we do.  The more money you can help us raise to offset estimated roof repair and water damage expenses, the more money we can invest in doing what we do best.

the steps

The funds we raise through this campaign will be used for roofing and water damage repair work on our rental unit for lease.  Any funds raised above and beyond the final cost of repairs to the roof will be used to help keep Las Americas open for business with support for expenses like staff salaries, postage, printing, and office supplies.

why we’re doing it

On average, Las Americas staff, interns, and volunteers serve close to 1,000 immigrant families and individuals annually.  In 2014, we provided legal consultations and services on 892 unique cases.  Our clients came from 34 different countries of origin and required assistance in 10 native languages.  Our youngest client was 3 months old and our oldest was 96 years old.


Our work promotes systemic change in a variety of ways but especially by assisting some of our community’s most vulnerable members to obtain legal status in the U.S.  A poor, undocumented immigrant who achieves legal status experiences a radical increase in opportunities to move out of the shadows of society and become an engaged and empowered member of society.  This new sense of empowerment can help foster a ripple effect across our communities, in politics, within families, in schools, and in economic participation.


Research and history have both shown us that empowered immigrants are engaged, active, and high-achieving contributors to society.  Most contribute to our tax base and many pursue educational achievement, become entrepreneurs, small business owners, doctors, lawyers, politicians, educators, and nonprofit and business leaders.

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