Special Holiday Message 2018
In many ways, 2018 has been one of the most difficult years in ILAP’s 25-year history. We saw continued attacks on the integrity of our immigration system, rampant anti-immigrant rhetoric throughout the election season and the use of force against individuals seeking asylum at our southern border. It can be hard to measure the full effect of this destructive climate on our clients and communities, and it may be many years before we truly understand its impact.
In the face of these monumental challenges, ILAP is proud to remain a steadfast resource for Maine’s immigrants. Since January, our staff has provided direct legal services and educational outreach to thousands of individuals. We also opened a full-time office in Lewiston and expanded our advocacy work, major milestones that allowed us to enhance our services across the state.
Looking ahead to 2019, we expect ongoing challenges from the federal government. But at the state level, we see opportunity. November’s election results have shifted the political landscape in Augusta, and ILAP will capitalize on this momentum and advocate for laws that welcome and protect the state’s immigrant residents.
With the addition of a grant-funded Rural Maine Attorney, over the next year ILAP will also deepen our services for Maine’s rural immigrant communities. Because of increased immigration enforcement, immigrants with and without legal status have become more fearful of travelling, even to Portland.
And to expand the breadth and depth of the legal assistance that ILAP can offer to the 4,000 asylum seekers now residing in Maine, we will add a full-time attorney to our Asylum Program. This capacity will be used to provide more support to individuals applying for asylum on their own, and to connect more individuals to attorneys on our Pro Bono Panel.
For twenty-five years, ILAP has worked locally and nationally to provide robust immigration legal services in Maine. This holiday season, please join us in supporting our immigrant neighbors and welcoming new cultural and economic energy to the state. Now through the end of the year, new and increased donations up to $20,000 will be generously matched by the George J. and Theresa L. Cotsirilos Family Foundation!
If you would like to join ILAP’s most steadfast supporters, consider making a recurring donation to help us sustain our core programming and react quickly to shifting needs and opportunities. Simply check the box next to “I would like my donation to recur” on the donation form and enter your desired amount and frequency.
Every year, I am overwhelmed by the support of individuals who, like you, believe that immigrants are an integral part of the state of Maine and its future. Your gift today will ensure that ILAP can respond to emerging and ongoing immigration legal needs in our communities over the weeks and months to come.
From all of us at ILAP, happy holidays.