To protect the human rights of El Paso’s most vulnerable population.
Every year thousands of immigrants from as far away as Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Ecuador arrive in El Paso, TX, the poorest major metropolitan area in Texas and the fifth poorest city in the U.S. Among these recent immigrants are unaccompanied children who travel to the U.S. alone to escape abuse, neglect, and persecution in their home countries. Disenfranchised and cut off from their families, these children are unable to access a proper education and cannot afford legal representation to assist in obtaining release from the Bureau of Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement (B.I.C.E.) and reuniting with family members in the U.S. Without adequate legal representation, these children remain in detention until their cases are closed, which in many cases can take as long as a year, or are forced to be deported and sent back to the same situations from which they fled.
The majority of the unaccompanied children in the El Paso area are detained in three facilities, two in El Paso and one in the nearby suburb of Canutillo, TX. Together they house 170 children at any given time.
1. By providing critical legal services to underserved immigrants in our community, Las Americas has become a place where people can come seeking hope, unencumbered, feel their own dignity, and are empowered by their struggles.
2. Through our efforts, the community is made aware of the need to protect immigrants’ rights, the value of immigrants in our community and the many gifts they bring to this nation.
3. In turn, Las Americas’ role as a community educator on issues affecting the people we serve can foster increased volunteerism and renewed community support across partisan lines.