Things That Matter

RAICES Collects Millions To Help Keep Families Together. Here’s Where The Money Is Going

There are several organizations that are fighting against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and travel bans. Even though President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep families together, the families, however, will remain detained, and still need legal representation, housing opportunities, meals, and much more. The 2,300 children already separated from their parents will remain separated and need legal representation to be reunited.

Some of those nonprofits that are helping people as they make their way to the border and being held in immigration detention include the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), Momastery, Annunciation House, Al Ortro Lado, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Texas Civil Rights Project. But there’s one organization that has surpassed donations of all of these, and exceeded their own goals much of everyone’s surprise.

In less than two weeks, a viral fundraiser on Facebook has raised more than $20 million for RAICES.

RAICES, which means “roots” in Spanish and stands for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services,is the largest immigration legal service group in Texas. The fundraiser is the largest fundraiser in Facebook’s history.

“We’ve had moments of ecstasy and there have been a lot of tears in response to this outpouring of support,” Jonathan Ryan, executive director of RAICES, told The New York Times. “But those moments of joy are curtailed by a realization of great responsibility.”

The organization has been around for the past 30 years. Here’s some of the legal services they provide:

  • Asylum
  • Relative Petitions
  • Adjustment of Status
  • Employment Authorization
  • Cancellation of Removal
  • Naturalization
  • Citizenship
  • U Visas (for victims of crimes [and their immediate family members] who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity).
  • T Visas (for certain victims of human trafficking and immediate family members to remain and work temporarily in the United States, typically if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against the perpetrators).
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • The Violence Against Women Act

In a Facebook Live event, staff from RAICES said that the organization has closed thousands of immigration cases in their 30 years of service.

The fundraiser began on June 16 when Charlotte and Dave Willner of San Francisco saw the picture of the crying toddler surrounded by Border Patrol agents.

So they started a Facebook fundraiser for RAICES and had an original goal of $1,500.

“When we look at the faces of these children, we can’t help but see our own children’s faces,” Charlotte told The Mercury News.

The fundraiser went viral and began to have matching donations. There’s so many donations happening at one time that their website has reached capacity. Dave Willner  said on Facebook that donations are coming in at about $4,000 every minute.

In a statement to CNN, RAICES said: “We do not have the words to thank Charlotte and Dave Willner. We’ve been occasionally crying around the office all day when we check the fundraising totals. There are terrible things happening in the world. And there are many people who are deciding not to look away but to do something.”

RAICES held a Facebook Live event in order to discuss what they’re planning on doing with the millions they have collected.

RAICES Fundraising Update!

RAICES Fundraising Updates with Director of Family Detention Manoj Govindaiah, Director of the Children’s Program Mayra Jimenez, and Asst. Director of Outreach Barbara Peña.

Posted by RAICES on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

For starters, their main objective is to make sure all of the children being detained separately from their parents have competent legal representation in court. The organization is made up of several volunteer attorneys that are working to ensure these kids are represented and reunited with their families.

They said a lot of kids they’re helping are located in Dallas and San Antonio area, and have also hired new staff to help manage the cases.

RAICES has two major initiatives at the moment. One is called the Leaf Project and the other is the Families Together Project.

“As hundreds of children are being ripped away from their parents at the Texas-Mexico border, RAICES received word this week that funding to represent unaccompanied children is ending,” RAICES states on their website. “Children with representation are not lost. More than 90 percent of children with representation continue on with their court case. Children with representation are five times more likely to be successful in their case than children who go to court alone. Representation is often the last line of safety for children very vulnerable to exploitation by both a system and a country hostile to their presence.”

Through the Families Together Project, RAICES can reunite families by paying their bond. “The Parents separated from their children at the border (and other immigrants placed in detention) can’t get released from ICE custody to reunite with their families until they pay the full amount of their immigration bond,” RAICES states on their website. “Bonds are set at a MINIMUM of $1500, and are usually in the range of $5-10K, even for asylum seekers without any criminal history.”

RAICES said via Facebook Live that the money raised is going directly to them and they’re working on using it both short term and long term.

They said Facebook has helped facilitate those funds in order for them to use it as efficiently as possible to make sure no child should ever go without a lawyer in court.

For people wanting to help but cannot donate to their fundraiser, RAICES recommends going to immigration court and observing what it’s like for people to go to court without representation. They also suggest people educate themselves on this issue, calling your local senator, go to a protest, attending a vigil because every action matters.


READ: Trump Administration Claims Babies Separated From Families Are Being Held In ‘Tender Age’ Shelters

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

Things That Matter

At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Things That Matter

Federal Investigators Executed A Search Warrant On Rudy Giuliani’s N.Y.C. Home And This Is Just The Beginning

Months of investigations on Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani officially came to a head Wednesday morning.

The former New York City mayor’s dealings with Ukraine officials in 2019 have been under scrutiny for months by authorities who have been investigating allegations Giuliani lobbied for powerful Ukrainian interests. The investigations have also looked into claims that Giuliani also solicited the Ukrainian government for damaging information on President Joe Biden when he was running against Trump in the 2020 election.

There is also the matter of allegations that Giuliani attempted to find information on Biden’s son Hunter, who was part of the board of an energy company in Ukraine.

Federal investigators executed a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home on Wednesday morning.

The search was part of a criminal investigation into Giuliani‘s activities with Ukraine. According to The New York Times, “Prosecutors obtained the search warrants as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws as President Trump’s personal lawyer.”

Federal agents seized cellphones and other electronic devices as part of the investigation. The search warrant took place around 6 a.m. at Mr. Giuliani’s apartment on Madison Avenue and his Park Avenue office in Manhattan.

The execution of a search warrant against the former president’s lawyer is particularly shocking.

The warrant comes as a major development in the investigation that has been ongoing for some time and examines the former- mayor’s conduct during Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“It was also a remarkable moment in Mr. Giuliani’s long arc as a public figure,” noted New York Times. “As mayor, Mr. Giuliani won national recognition for steering New York through the dark days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and earlier in his career, he led the same U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that is investigating him now, earning a reputation as a hard-charging prosecutor who took on organized crime and corrupt politicians.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com