President Donald Trump, after taking office in January 2017, issued a series of executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees.
Federal courts quickly blocked his ban on people from six majority Muslim countries, his suspension of refugee resettlement and his attempt to withhold federal grants from jurisdictions that refuse to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But Trump succeeded in slashing resettlement from 100,000 a year to 50,000, ramping up deportation of people previously protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and tighten restrictions on asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors.
Meanwhile reports of hate crimes are on the rise, most strikingly against people who appear to be Arab or Muslim. In Oregon, authorities fielded reports of immigration officers arresting undocumented defendants at county courts. Rumors spread of agents waiting for undocumented parents at their children's schools. And social service providers saw a sharp uptick in the number of clients failing to show up for appointments and those refusing services altogether.
Local Programs & Workshops
In response, Multnomah County commissioners, the City of Portland and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown reiterated support of a state law (Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820) that prohibits local law enforcement from detaining a person whose only offense is being in the country without proper documentation, or from proactively helping federal agents in enforcing immigration laws.
Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners voted in March 2017 to invest $100,000 in rapid-response immigration legal services. The funds were shared between the new Immigration Legal Project at Metropolitan Public Defender Services and the Portland Ready Coalition, coordinated by Causa.
Immigration Legal Project, contact Alex Bassos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Ready Coalition, contact Andrea Williams at email@example.com
American Immigration Lawyers Association - Oregon has launched this resource page with upcoming education events in partnership with community nonprofits.
Know Your Rights workshops are offered at Multnomah County Library branches in partnership with AILA Oregon.
Oregon Immigration Resource is a regional site, hosted by the advocacy group Causa, maintains pages on upcoming workshops, updates on deportations and ICE activity, resources on how to protect your family, prevent fraud, and on document preparation.
Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, based in Woodburn, offers community support and events across northwestern Oregon.
El Programa Hispano Católico is coordinating local workshops for education communities and services providers about risks and rights.
Adults facing deportation proceedings don't have a Sixth Amendment right to a lawyer at government expense. So Oregon immigration lawyers and advocates came together through the Innovation Law Lab to put out some great resources. Check out this deportation primer for Spanish-speaking residents. Big takeaways:
Do not miss court! Failure to appear means you can get deported without further action.
You have a right to at least one case postponement.
You have the right to apply for asylum if you fear persecution or torture in returning home.
You have the right to apply for protection from deportation under the United States Convention Against Torture even if you are ineligible for asylum.
Immigration Legal Service Providers
AILA Oregon: The Oregon Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association is a network of licensed attorneys with an understanding of the complexities of immigration law.
SOAR immigration legal services: Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees offers low-cost immigration representation and education to low-income families.
ICS: Immigration Counseling Services is a nonprofit law firm offering lower-cost immigration legal services and education.
Catholic Charities: This nonprofit's Immigration Legal Services office offers low-cost immigration representation to low-income immigrant and refugee families, and coordinates workshops across the state.
Immigrant Law Group: This Portland law firm hosts a resource page and volunteers at workshops.
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: This Washington-based nonprofit offers legal representation to low-income detainees at the Northwest Detention Center, a regional immigration detention facility in Tacoma.
Appleseed Network: The deportation resource page includes Spanish-language videos, and English-language manuals on child custody, assets, insurance, property and more.