FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2014
Kavita Khandekar Chopra, Marketing & Development Director
Bill Holston, Executive Director
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas welcomes President Obama’s changes to “Our Broken Immigration System”
Dallas, TX – Last night President Obama announced a 10-point plan “reforming our broken immigration system through executive action.” Human Rights Initiative of North Texas welcomes The White House’s changes that expand legal protections for qualified individuals. Human Rights Initiative has been representing immigrant victims of violence, survivors of torture and persecution, and children seeking refuge in the United States for nearly 15 years. Yesterday’s amendments to the immigration system could help many Human Rights Initiative clients keep their families together, specifically through the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The changes brought about by this executive order will help thousands of people, but fail to address the most pressing issues in need of reform. Human Rights Initiative is thrilled to see action on this issue, but we will continue to advocate for the following:
- Increased funding to Immigration courts that are backlogged and overloaded.
- Eliminate the one-year filing deadline for asylum-seekers. This deadline is arbitrary and does not take into account the effects of severe trauma on many asylum seekers.
- End the unconscionable practice of allowing immigrant children to remain unrepresented in court. HRI Executive Director, Bill Holston said, “”There are still children that are showing up in court without lawyers. You go down to the kids’ docket, and those courtrooms are full of kids.” The government should provide attorneys for every child in court.
- End the detention of families—including the detention of mothers from Central America and their children—which results in egregious human rights violations, traumatizes children and families, undermines the family structure, and impedes due process.
- Discontinue the use of expedited removal in border areas. Expedited removal shortchanges immigrants and impedes potential relief processes such as, application for asylum.
- End the policies of opposing release on bond for Central American families and requesting extremely high bonds that families cannot pay.
- Support the use of case management providers to help individuals and families understand and navigate the complex process of Immigration court. Case Management programs can enhance court appearances and offer support to individuals or families who need it most.
We hope to see a future where the rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans can be extended to those who are unable and unwilling to return to an environment filled with violence for fear of their life.
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas provides legal and social services to victims of violence from all over the world. Clients of Human Rights Initiative include asylum-seekers; men, women, and children fleeing domestically abusive relationships; victims of violent crime; and immigrant children who have been directly affected by violence. In 2014, Human Rights Initiative became the largest provider of legal representation to unaccompanied minors in North Texas. Please visit www.hrionline.org for more information or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/HRIOnline.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2014
Contact: Kavita Khandekar Chopra, Marketing & Development Director
TEXAS BAR FOUNDATION FUNDS HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE IN DALLAS
The Texas Bar Foundation has approved a generous grant of $19,500 to Human Rights Initiative of North Texas to fund their Immigrant Children’s Project.
The Texas Bar Foundation has supported the work of HRI since the inception of the agency more than twelve years ago. TBF was one of the first foundations to support HRI’s legal programs and has consistently supported HRI’s legal outreach to poor communities, training programs for HRI’s pool of pro bono lawyers, DVD programs for HRI volunteer attorney trainings and community outreach, case management software, a bilingual legal assistant and HRI’s Human Rights Curriculum. This year, they have also chosen to support our extension of services to unaccompanied Central American minors
The Immigrant Children’s Project has been a part of Human Rights Initiative for nearly ten years. The Project is a part of the Women & Children’s Program and exists to serve young migrants who qualify for various forms of relief. Typically, a child in this project would qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which is designated for a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents. SIJS allows a young child to stay safely and legally in the United States and eventually apply for their Greencard, making them a Legal Permanent Resident. In the last year, HRI has expanded our services to offer legal screenings and Know Your Rights Presentations to unaccompanied minors in local shelters. With support from Texas Bar Foundation, Human Rights Initiative was able to hire an additional attorney to represent more children fleeing Central America in Dallas Immigration Court.
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas was founded in 1999 to promote international human rights for immigrants who have suffered human rights abuses. Funded solely by community gifts, private donations and foundation grants, HRI provides free legal services to people have suffered tremendous persecution and torture in their native lands for exercising the very freedoms that we take for granted: freedom of speech, of religious practice, of political belief, or of gender roles.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
For more information about Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc. visit www.hrionline.org/about-hri.
For more information about the Texas Bar Foundation, visit www.txbf.org.