When Arturo, a 27-year-old Honduran father, arrived at an immigration checkpoint to seek asylum, agents took him to a private prison in south Georgia — and took away his 7-year-old son.
"[ICE] told me I was a criminal and I had no rights," said Arturo (not his real name).
People like Arturo do have rights. But one in six immigrants detained in the Southeast have no access to legal counsel — and without it, their rights are frequently trampled. When they do have an attorney, they’re 10 times more likely to win their case.
Removal proceedings determine whether immigrants like Arturo have a right to asylum. For those who have been in the United States for years, these proceedings decide whether they may remain with their families or whether they’re forced to return to a country they may not even recognize as home.
For some who are trying to escape violence, winning or losing can be a matter of life or death.
That’s why we created the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI).
SIFI provides pro bono legal representation to detained immigrants like Arturo at five of the largest immigrant detention centers in the Deep South and supports six others:
What we do
- Protect immigrants’ due process rights
- Hold law enforcement and detention facility personnel accountable for civil rights violations
- Challenge the deportation machine
- Educate the public about immigrants and debunk falsehoods
- Cultivate and expand attorney engagement
SIFI also provides strategic, multi-year grants to organizations whose work supports and expands our work to represent detained immigrants. Below is a list of organizations in the SIFI affiliate network:
Adelante Alabama Worker Center
- Birmingham, Alabama
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Folkston, Georgia
- Ocilla, Georgia
- Lumpkin, Georgia
Americans for Immigrant Justice
- Miami, Florida
- Pompano Beach, Florida
- Moore Haven, Florida
For more information, or to get in touch, email us.