The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund has distributed nearly $1.5 million since 2018.
The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund (DILSF), a partnership between the City and County of Denver’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and The Denver Foundation, awarded $515,000 in funding to seven organizations that serve immigrants and their families in Denver. These organizations will use the funds, which they received in December, to provide direct legal representation to immigrants in detention and affirmative relief services to Denver residents and their families.
The seven organizations are Catholic Charities, Center for Trauma and Resilience, Colorado Asylum Center, International Rescue Committee, Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center, Lutheran Social Services, and Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.
The City and County of Denver’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and The Denver Foundation established DILSF in 2018 to address growing and complex needs and opportunities in local immigrant and refugee communities. The fund also expands the capacity of immigration attorneys in Metro Denver. DILSF has distributed nearly $1.5 million in three funding cycles since 2018.
In November 2020, Denver’s City Council approved the expansion of the DILSF’S annual budget from $200,000 to $500,000. To address current unmet needs in both removal and affirmative representation, an additional $250,000 will be distributed through the fund in 2022 to support a legal fellowship program and to assist with direct representation.
“Denver truly thrives when our immigrant communities’ experiences, skills, and perspectives are an integral part of our city’s narrative,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock says. “We know firsthand what permanent pathways to lawful immigration status mean for our residents and recognize the importance of providing those opportunities for access to due process and keeping families together. I appreciate the partnership with City Council, which has ensured that this fund is not compromised. I look forward to the continued support of everyone to make this fund available to organizations that serve immigrant and refugee residents in need.”
The city of Denver and The Denver Foundation welcome charitable donations for the DILSF from individuals and the business and philanthropic sectors to help provide ongoing critical services. Donations can be made at The Denver Foundation’s website.
“The Denver Foundation is committed to building a more inclusive Metro Denver, where people of all backgrounds have access to quality representation on essential matters, such as immigration,” says Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. “We are honored to partner with Mayor Hancock and the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to ensure everyone in our community receives fair, quality legal services in times of need.”
About The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund
Denver is enriched by the talents, culture, contributions, and assets of all its residents, including more than 110,000 foreign-born people. Yet many immigrants, their families, and families of mixed immigration status are under increasing threat of potential removal from this country and from our community.
A partnership between the Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and The Denver Foundation, the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund operates on the principle that legal defense should not be for only those who can afford it. Providing representation to immigrants in removal proceedings is not about who deserves to stay or be deported: It is about bringing fairness to complex immigration proceedings.
Grants from the fund support qualified nonprofit organizations that offer direct legal representation to low-income, unauthorized individuals who are current residents of Denver and are subject to potential deportation. Resources can also be used to help nonprofit organizations expand the pool of pro bono or low-bono attorneys providing assistance.
Deportation proceedings are the only legal proceedings in the United States where people are detained without access to legal representation. Immigrants are more than 10 times more likely to be able to stay in the country when they have representation.
A seven-member Advisory Board oversees The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund. Members are appointed by the Mayor, Denver City Council, The Immigration Roundtable, Colorado Lawyers Committee, and The Denver Foundation.
About The City and County of Denver’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs advocates for immigrants and refugees and works with city agencies to meet the needs of this population. The office works closely with community partners and residents to develop policies and programs that provide and reinforce strong integration pathways for immigrant residents in Denver.
About The Denver Foundation
The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2021, the Foundation and its donors awarded $115 million in grants. The Denver Foundation has three roles: stewarding an endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver, working with community leaders to address the core challenges that face the community, and managing more than 1,000 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families, and businesses. To learn more about The Denver Foundation, visit www.denverfoundation.org.
Please direct media inquiries for Mayor Michael B. Hancock to Theresa Marchetta, Director of Strategic Communications and Media Policy, Theresa.Marchetta@denvergov.org, 720-908-8158.