RE: [CommunitiesUnited] Re: [MadisonLUChA] RE: [LaSup] Announcement - Probono Law Clinic Every Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm
- Thank you, Sarah, for your excellent message. Thank you also for being a volunteer with CILC along with all the members of the Clinic who are working hard to fill the great need to inform immigrants about their options.
We particularly appreciate the Clinic's importance in helping to protect individuals who are not eligible for visas, residency, or employment authorization from filing applications with DHS. These are the immigrants whose applications are regularly denied and consequently deported since they are detected as being in the US without authorization.
Centro staff are very aware of the "messes" you mentioned as the aftermath of these unscrupulous attorneys and illegal "notarios". It is very sad to see the consequences to the familes of unauthorized immigrants who have fallen victims to these folks' inadequacy or predatory practices.
We hope that free immigration clinics take your lead and work to assist folks who have standing to obtain authorization. But also, as CILC does, place importance in helping to intercept immigrants without standing from from being victimized by these unscrupulous predators. This was the sole intent of the message we sent to these lists.
Again, thank you.
To: prmunoz@...; firstname.lastname@example.org
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Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 16:42:32 -0500
Subject: Re: [CommunitiesUnited] Re: [MadisonLUChA] RE: [LaSup] Announcement - Probono Law Clinic Every Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm
Dear LaSup Community,
I have been following this discussion thread regarding the climate of fear amidst the immigrant community, the misinformation or lack of information available to immigrants regarding immigration issues and the unscrupulous attorneys and notarios who take advantage of a vulnerable group of individuals. As the President of the newly-formed Community Immigration Law Center (CILC) I feel the need to respond.
Your fears and the fears of the immigrant community are real. Several immigration attorneys in Madison, including every single attorney involved in the CILC, acknowledges the trouble that immigrants face when it comes to sifting through legal advice and navigating the incredibly complex legal system. We cringe when we learn that an attorney has filed an application for an immigrant that s/he is clearly not eligible for or when the attorney doesn’t take the time to properly research a case. In fact, many of us clean up the messes created by other attorneys and notarios.
We are also well aware of the fact that the United States immigration system is broken, at best. However, the Immigration and Nationality Act is what is it....for now. The best we can do within our current system is disseminate legally sound advice to as many individuals as we can. While the attorneys who volunteer at the CILC’s free walk-in clinic feel that it is important to assist immigrants with applications for visas, Green Cards, travel permits, naturalization and employment authorization documents, we feel that it is just as important to intercept an individual who is not eligible for a visa, a Green Card, or an employment authorization document before they file an application that will inevitably be denied and will put them at risk of being detected. Mort importantly, once we intercept that person, we can educate them about their legal rights. For instance, immigrants have a right to remain silent. They have the right to be free of warrantless searches of their homes. They have a right to an attorney.
The CILC is comprised of volunteer lawyers, law students and interpreters. Our Board of Directors is comprised of the following individuals: Jean Rene Watchou (Christ Presbyterian Church), Stacy Taeuber (Bond, Capati, Lee, Molina & Taeuber LLC), Ramona Natera (UMOS), Amanda Gennerman (Gennerman, Mazzie-Briscoe Law Group), Rocio Molina (Bond, Capati, Lee, Molina & Taeuber LLC), Janice Beers (Jewish Social Services), Grant Sovern (Quarles & Brady), Linda Clifford (Linda Clifford Law Office), Monica Santa Maria (Godfrey & Kahn), Marsha Mansfield (UW Law School).
At the CILC, we pride ourselves on offering free, quality case consultation/ evaluation and immigration education. On the other hand, we know that there is a deeply-rooted distrust of attorneys amongst the immigrant community. We must work hard together to overcome that distrust because there are so many thoughtful, caring and generous immigration attorneys who want to serve the immigrant community competently and completely.
While Madison boasts several non-profit agencies that address immigration issues, Jewish Social Services, UMOS, Centro Hispano, the need is so vast. We hope that the CILC can contribute to filling the void in immigration services. The CILC is not equipped to provide full pro-bono representation at this time, our goal is to evolve into a full-service organization. In the mean time, we are pleased to provide free and confidential consultations.
Thank you for your time and concern for this issue.
Attorney Sarah Mazzie-Briscoe
Gennerman, Mazzie-Briscoe Law Group
6502 Grand Teton Plaza, Suite 103
Madison, Wisconsin 53719
Phone: (608) 662-5998
Fax: (608) 662-5997
On 10/29/09 10:28 PM, "Peter R. Munoz" <prmunoz@hotmail. com> wrote:
Thank you for your response. You make an excellent comment about lawyers without heart or social conscience who are "merchandising" the future of their clients and their families.
My comments were made only in the context of predatory "merchandizing" schemes that target innocent unauthorized immigrants who do not have any standing whatsoever to obtain immigration documentation. Such immigrants typically have crossed the border withtout US authorization, or simply overstayed their tourist visa.
The legal predators lure their innocent victims into paying them inordinate amounts of money by promising to "fix" their immigration situation. That is deplorable enough. But worse, they proceed to file documentation on behalf of their clients with DHS, which results in their deportation.
We know there are a significant number of immigrants in our area who are at risk of falling pray to these tactics. My comment was made hoping that a key piece of advice given at these free immigration clinics is to stay out of trouble and off the DHS radar, lest they be deported. And, of course, the other crucial piece of advice is to not waste any money in pursuit of false promises made by the legal scoundrels.
If you know of anyone who may be seeking assistance with their immigration issues, please feel free to refer them to Centro Hispano or Madison Jewish Social Services. They will not risk expensive bad advice that will lead them to deportation.
Again, thank you.
To: MadisonLUChA@ yahoogroups. com
CC: LaSup@yahoogroups. com; CommunitiesUnited@ yahoogroups. com; AAM@listserv. icors.org
From: alexmgillis@ gmail.com
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:35:45 -0500
Subject: [CommunitiesUnited] Re: [MadisonLUChA] RE: [LaSup] Announcement - Probono Law Clinic Every Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm
I would like to express my opinion about the guidelines that Peter have just posted and I believe some in the legal community are embracing too which is in Peter's words: "for undocumented folks who are not in imminent trouble with DHS is to stay out of its radar screen, and to not contract lawyers if doing so places them at risk of being outed to DHS."
I think that the motives and intentions of this advice are admirable and I believe I share the same level of concern about how the legal system treats Latinos and/or undocumented immigrants.
However, lay low and specially implied that contract a lawyer can attract ICE is at very least confusing and misleading. I know you say “not contract lawyers if doing so places them at risk of being outed to DHS” but really you do not clarify what those cases are and more important who can determinate if those cases will or won’t. So I guess what I want to say is that we shall encourage undocumented immigrant to seek legal advice and quite honestly to enforce any right that can benefit for the wellbeing of their families.
As you know only a lawyer can provide such a legal advice. In my opinion, it is the lack of information and legal consideration of our day to day problems what makes us more vulnerable to commit a fault, crime or just bump into the legal system which as how it is played nowadays many times ends up in deportation.
The fact that we do not go to the lawyers does not stop the other party to start legal actions against you, by the time those actions take effect many times it is too late (or too expensive) to build a productive defense.
Actually not exploring the rights that we can use makes us more vulnerable to abuse. Literally thousands of families every day in Dane County are victims of one or another abuse just because some people knows that they will not go to a lawyer as we try to lay low. That includes sexual harassment, discrimination cases and all kind of labor abuses including dramatic work comp cases; I know of quite a few work accidents where the company should have paid tens of thousands of dollars and the workers do not proceed due they think that would give them trouble, and I talking of people becoming disable to work for life!
Furthermore, the culture of fear that we live today, manufactured for the current broken immigration system and the very studied interests of the big money in the country, is creating an invisible trap for many of us: instead of using the justice system (and holding it accountable) to defend our interest we are scared of it and makes us do terrible mistakes. Perhaps the most graphical example, for me at least, is that when there is a car accident many undocumented immigrants leave the accident because they do not want to interact with the police due the lack of ID and Drivers License. Many times not being their fault, what it could be solved with a ticket quickly, or even being paid by the other party, becomes a traffic crime felony many times triggering deportation in our local jail.
Finally, the legal system is so complicated and malleable that only a lawyer on case by case can advice you if your claim will or not attract DHS and even if so if this is still worth versus the consequences
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