The immigration system is racialized, unfair, and difficult to navigate by design. Universal legal representation helps keep families and communities whole by providing access to immigration legal services. For people facing deportation, whether or not they have legal representation often determines the success of their case. Without representation, a person in removal proceedings is 5.5 times more likely to lose their case and be ordered removed from the United States, regardless of the merits of their case. Many people in removal proceedings have valid legal claims to remain here and continue to contribute to their community, but they have no way to articulate these claims without legal assistance.

When immigrant Oregonians are deported, our entire state suffers. If a family’s breadwinner is deported, family members face housing and food insecurity. Children must cope with the incredible trauma of family separation, with long-lasting psychological impacts. Children’s school attendance and performance are also negatively affected, increasing their likelihood of dropping out and earning significantly less as adults.

Within the provided impact reports, you will find a detailed breakdown of the number of individuals who have benefited from the ECO program, as well as the monetary amounts allocated and the breakdown of their allocation.

 

Materials/Content:

 

  1. Impact Reports
    1. ECO is proudly partnered with the Oregon Worker Relief (OWR) program which has been a lifeline for over 93,000 immigrant oregonians. You can find the OWR impact reports here: Read the Oregon Worker Relief 2023 Impact Report / Read the report in Spanish.
  2. Testimonies
    1. Yanin’s Testimony: “We didn’t know how to fight for our asylum case or a working permit. We also didn’t have money to pay for a lawyer. When my husband got to Oregon, a little before I got here with our children, in a piece of paper that they gave him in the immigration court he found an organization’s number that’s called Pueblo Unido. He called them and they said that they would talk to Equity Corps, ECO. ECO told us that they could help us, and we didn’t have to pay anything.” 
    2. Micaela’s Testimony: “I was born in Guatemala, but due to the great amount of violence and the danger to my life, at the age of 16 I came to the United States to live in Oregon where my father was. At first, when I came to the United States, it was very difficult for me. I didn’t have much communication with other people and I was pregnant with my baby, who is now almost three years old. I didn’t have much support or permission to work. I set out on my own to seek legal help, and through a community organization in Portland I learned about ECO’s legal representation program. I made an appointment, they interviewed me about how I came to the United States and why I came here. That is how my process of applying for asylum began.”

Maria Hilda’s Testimony: “When I went to my first immigration court, I still did not have a lawyer and I felt totally helpless. I didn’t have any money to pay for a lawyer and could not work without permission. I looked for help and thank God a community organization put me in contact with the ECO program. With the help of the program, they gave me legal representation and helped me apply for my work permit. Already with permission to work I feel in glory. I have always liked to work. I felt discouraged but now I feel blessed.”