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Local organization provides support for asylum seekers and visa applicants

| February 14, 2020, 01:13 PM

Rams Head

The Annapolis Immigration Justice Network (AIJN) is an all-volunteer organization connecting Anne Arundel County neighbors to quality immigration legal counsel and direct case management assistance. Established in April 2017, AIJN has awarded over $100,000 in direct legal funding to help 77 asylum seekers and visa applicants — including 40 children — secure full legal representation for their federal immigration cases.

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Rams Head

AIJN will host its third annual Border Crossings fundraiser — a night of stories, music, and art – to celebrate and support our immigrant neighbors, on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.  Please contact AIJN President Suzanne Martin via email for specific event details: [email protected].

“The Annapolis Immigration Justice Network is committed to the right to due process for our most vulnerable neighbors, who often arrive to Anne Arundel County with little knowledge of how to navigate our complicated immigration process,” Martin said. “We have been humbled by the men, women, and children who have reached out to us for assistance in obtaining quality legal representation, and we look forward to helping more people in the future.”

Martin said AIJN is committed to unifying families in the community, and supporting unaccompanied children and other neighbors in need. As their clients navigate a complex immigration process, AIJN volunteers walk alongside in support.

“Recently, many Americans have been disturbed by the separation and detention of family members at our southern border and throughout our country,” said AIJN Vice President Kelly Price. “AIJN believes in the American values of humane and fair treatment of the most vulnerable people. We are dedicated to the fundamental right to due process for all individuals fleeing their home countries.”

A 2017 Syracuse University study found that 90% of asylum seekers without legal representation lost their asylum cases in court, while nearly 50% who retained attorneys were granted asylum. AIJN partners include University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic, University of Baltimore Immigration Rights Clinic, Kids in Need of Defense, immigration law firms, faith communities, local businesses, and many individuals of goodwill.

“I can’t say enough good things about AIJN and I can think of no work in our community that is more important than what AIJN is doing helping children and families,” said Delegate Alice Cain. “All of us who have heard the horrors of family separation and detention care and want to help. The leaders and volunteers at AIJN are actually stepping up to do something about it, and, for this, I know I speak for thousands in our community in expressing immeasurable gratitude.”

Cain’s House colleague, Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, pointed out why the need for AIJN’s services is so great in Anne Arundel County.

“I continue to support this local nonprofit meeting a dire need in Anne Arundel County,” said Delegate Peña-Melnyk. “In my daily work representing our district, I witness the urgency for immigration legal representation for some of our most vulnerable residents. I applaud AIJN’s success and commitment.”

County Councilmember Lisa Brannigan Rodvien also expressed her commitment.

“The Annapolis Immigration Justice Network is meeting a critical community need in supporting immigrants who have sacrificed so much to try and make a better life for their families,” Councilmember Rodvien said. “I am thrilled that they are a resource for immigrants in our community, and I am honored to know the compassionate and dedicated people working with this organization.”

For more information about the AIJN, please visit their website.

Rams Head

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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