For Immediate Release
Contact: Alyson Robbins
DETROIT, MI (June 14, 2018) – The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) recently received funding from The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The Kresge Foundation to expand free legal services for immigrants across Michigan. Through the “Front Door” project, MIRC and its partners aim to connect every individual with immigration legal needs in the Detroit Metro area to a trained, legal professional.
With an estimated 4,000 low-income immigrants facing legal crises in the Detroit area alone, the current immigration legal services delivery system is both under-resourced and under-coordinated. Thanks to one- and three-year grants from the Community Foundation and Kresge Foundation, respectively, the Front Door project is now underway and will significantly increase access to legal resources and representation in deportation proceedings and other immigration matters. Beginning in July, every detainee and every respondent in immigration court will be given MIRC’s intake phone number. This step alone represents a major increase in access to legal assistance for immigrants facing detention and removal.
For many Michigan immigrants, this funding has the capacity to change lives. Already, as a result of the Front Door project, new MIRC Attorney Tania Morris Diaz represented a Detroiter who was detained on his way to work after living in the U.S. for 12 years. The man’s partner was eight months pregnant at the time and gave birth while he was in detention. In court, Attorney Diaz was able to obtain a timely, affordable bond that allowed the man to meet his baby daughter for the first time. “We absolutely could not have taken this complex detained removal case without this new program,” says MIRC Co-Managing Attorney Susan Reed, “These are our neighbors, our community, and we aren’t even providing them the basic right of equal justice. The Front Door is working to change that.”
MIRC looks forward to ongoing development of the Front Door project and thanks all its funders for helping MIRC respond to the critical needs of immigrants in Michigan. In collaboration with other local non-profits and the Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, MIRC is excited to expand its mission to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities are fully integrated and respected.
The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center is a legal resource center for Michigan's immigrant communities. MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities experience equity and belonging. For more information visit michiganimmigrant.org or connect with MIRC via Twitter @Michimmigrant or Facebook @MichiganImmigrant.
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1 billion through more than 65,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit cfsem.org.
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit kresge.org.