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Race & Equity
Follow our coverage of immigration and related issues affecting Latinos in the Charlotte area.

Charlotte Groups Get $100,000 To Provide Legal Aid For Immigrants

Charlotte Immigration Court plaque
Laura Brache/WFAE
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Data from TRAC at Syracuse University shows that most of the immigrants fighting their deportation at the Charlotte Immigration court over the last 20 years did so without a lawyer.

The Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit advocacy organization, launched a one-year legal aid coalition called Caminos de Esperanza that will provide $1 million toward legal aid for immigrants.

Funding will be distributed to 11 nonprofits across 11 states, including two in North Carolina.

“Caminos de Esperanza is working to provide immigrants with legal assistance to give them the best chance possible to utilize the available pathways to relief and residency,” Hispanic Federation president Frankie Miranda said.

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the Carolina Migrant Network will each receive $100,000 grants to continue their work providing low-cost and free legal services to immigrants.

According to Estefania Arteaga, Carolina Migrant Network co-director, the money will help her organization provide legal representation for around 100 cases. However, she says the impact is likely even greater.

“Sometimes we talk about one case that we're supporting,” Arteaga said. “But we also forget about the large extended family that is impacted through legal protections that we're able to secure through our representation.”

North Carolina ranks 10th in the U.S. for total pending deportation cases, according to data from Syracuse University, but it’s at the bottom of the list for the likelihood that immigrants will be represented by an attorney.

“Without these services, immigrants who cannot afford legal representation will have no choice other than to represent themselves in court, leaving them at great risk of being permanently separated from their families or held indefinitely in immigration detention centers,” Miranda said.

According to Miranda, the Hispanic Federation hopes to support around 1,500 immigrants through the legal aid coalition.

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