Gov. Murphy will provide $2.1M for free legal help for NJ immigrants in need

New Americans in NJ
Source: Immigration Council

Newark, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has announced that he intends to allocate $2.1M to fund free legal representation for immigrants facing detention or deportation who cannot afford private attorneys. In New Jersey, the vast majority of immigrant detainees fight their deportation cases without an attorney. It is not surprising that only 14% of unrepresented detainees are successful and able to remain in the United States, given the complexities of our immigration laws and the challenges of gathering evidence while incarcerated. Individuals facing deportation have no right to appointed counsel.

“While the funding will not be enough to ensure representation for all of the approximately 2,000 immigrants currently detained in New Jersey detention facilities for civil immigration violations, it is a promising first step towards protecting the due process rights of both long-time New Jersey residents with deep ties to our communities and who have families who would be devastated by their detention and deportation, as well as recently arrived immigrants fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries,” said Nicole Miller, Legal Services Director for the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program (AFSC) in Newark, NJ. “AFSC has been representing immigrant detainees for over 20 years in New Jersey and we have seen firsthand the significant impact that legal representation has on a detainee’s ability to present their case to an immigration judge. It also ensures that detainees are treated with dignity and respect as they navigate a dehumanizing immigration system that tears families and communities apart.”

“We will continue to advocate on behalf of immigrant detainees and look forward to a day where the state of New Jersey fully funds a universal representation program that provides access to counsel to all immigrants detained in New Jersey and facing deportation,” stated Chia-Chia Wang, AFSC’s Director of Organizing and Advocacy.

AFSC, the ACLU of New Jersey and the Seton Hall Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic recently issued a report entitled “The Meaning of Counsel in the Immigration System: New Jersey Case Stories”, that highlights the importance of access to counsel for detained immigrants in New Jersey by documenting the stories of eleven New Jersey immigrants detained in immigration detention centers, many of whom are AFSC clients.

Safe channels for giving to Hurricane Harvey victims and other help resources

Worker rescues Asian vic of Hurricane Harvey
Texas National Guardsman rescues Hurricane Harvey victim Source: US DOD

Here are organizations that reliable sources have vouched for as safe for receiving donations for Hurricane Harvey victim relief. Providers of other types of help are listed too. I’ll continue adding to this list as I find more outlets.

Safe Organizations for Financial Donations

Providers of other kinds of help

  • To find family & friends or to register yourself as safe, visit the American Red Cross Safe & Well site
  • To report a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-866-908-9570
  • Get help for emotional distress from the storm at Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990. Or text TalkWithUs to 66746
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    America’s war on compassion – and cellphone charging?

    Street Roots Newspaper, PortlandAdd this story to the growing evidence that a war is being waged in America to make compassion a crime and to deny the most basic services to our #neighborswithnoaddress – the vast US homeless population of over half a million people. Which by the way ‘but for the Grace of God‘ could be you or me. Emily Green of Street Roots News reports on the plight of “Jackie”, whom police arrested for theft for charging her cellphone in an outside receptacle located in a planter box in Old Town, Portland. This story was reported by Street Roots, a Portland newspaper that serves the poor and homeless.

    The net cost of Jackie’s alleged electricity theft was probably about 1/50th of a cent but this did not deter the justice system from requiring several court appearances, putting her in jail for a night and attempting to bully Jackie into pleading guilty, which would have annihilated the homeless woman’s chance at qualifying for a public housing subsidy. Jackie has MS and hopes to get housing now that she has begun receiving disability checks.

    Gary L. Everest Tells about Street Roots newspaper:

    “Street Roots” is a local newspaper with it’s home in Old Town. It’s dedicated to issues facing the homeless and sold on the streets around Portland by ambitious homeless men and women. It’s a great way for them to earn some money and I must say, the vendors are always respectful and never aggressive. At least one individual, who sold the paper outside of “Trader Joe’s” on NW Glisan was known for helping customers with grocery carts. When he passed away a year or two ago, there was quite an outpouring of feeling for this kind soul. read more

    Extension on registrations, inspections & licenses for NJ drivers

    MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez issued Administrative Order 2012-03 authorizing a 30-day extension for all driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and inspections due to expire on Oct. 31. Martinez also authorized Administrative Order 2012-04, which waives International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requirements during a state of emergency declared by the Governor of New Jersey. This temporary waiver will aid commercial motor carriers in delivering essential services and emergency relief supplies in a timely matter to areas that may be affected by Hurricane Sandy.

    Resources for Newark residents

    Newark County Committeeperson Douglas Freeman called in to say, Newark’s South Ward Residents need food, baby food, diapers; warming and charging stations. Residents basically just want something that says, “We care. we’re not just leaving you here and you’re fending for yourselves with no one caring what’s happening to you. I was in the dark along with everyone and we had electrical wires hooked up between houses and all of that – if we could do that, I know the city can do something … Just show people that you care, that’s all.”

    I was able to find some resources for South Ward residents. Relief efforts are being coordinated by area churches with resources coming from several sources – see the list below. Resources are being added daily and this list will be updated as they become known.

    A Red Cross coordinator urges people to call 973-733-4311 to ask for any help they need: transportation to shelters and food pantries; diapers, baby formula; food, blankets. A higher volume of calls will result in more attention being given. Feel free to ask a neighbor, friend or relative to make the call for you if you are unable to call yourself. If you are able to give a ride to anyone, or if churches can make their vans available to mobilize people, many can be helped.

    Shelters & Supplies for South Ward Residents

    • Red Cross Shelter
      • JFK Recreation Center at 211 W. Kinney Avenue, Newark
        Sleep-in shelter
        Meals and many other resources

      St. John on Bergen Street and Lyons Avenue

      • Food and water
        Is a warming and charging station
        People can sleep over (it’s also a shelter)

      Pleasant Grove Baptist at 185 Chadwick Avenue

      • Water and rations

      Clinton Hill Resource/Community Center On Clinton Avenue next to Blessed Sacrament and Osborne Terrace

      • Serving a hot meal at 5:00pm daily
        May have diapers
        Is a warming and charging station

      Mt. Vernon Baptist Church on Clinton Avene and 13th Street

      • Hot meals at 12:00pm and 5:00pm
        May have food pantry

      General Resources

    • American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey serving Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Sussex Counties
      209 Fairfield Road, Fairfield, NJ 07004, 973-797-3300 or 800-733-2767
    • New Hope Baptist Church
      106 Sussex Avenue, Newark

      This is a FEMA hub and will try to obtain whatever resources the community needs
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