President Barack Obama’s recent executive order defers the deportation of undocumented parents of American citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years. This is expected to affect approximately 4 million undocumented immigrants, but excludes approximately 7 million others, according to a recent report on NPR. Among those excluded are the tens of thousands of unaccompanied child and teenage migrants that arrived to the U.S. border earlier this year.
The Oakland-based Social Justice Collaborative (SJC)—a nonprofit organization and law firm that offers low-income clients immigration and criminal defense services—has defended hundreds of unaccompanied minors who are either in deportation proceedings or filing for refugee status. Although SJC has only been in existence for two years, it has a 100 percent success rate in cases involving unaccompanied migrant refugees, according to Emily Abraham, one of the two attorneys at SJC. “We are committed to providing legal representation to both low-income adults and minors, because our mission as an organization is to advance the rights of immigrants and their families through legal representation they otherwise may not be able to afford,” said Abraham.
Because unaccompanied minors cannot afford legal representation, legal fees are subsidized through the group’s fundraising efforts. On Saturday night, SJC partnered with the New Parish to hold a benefit concert featuring local rap Femcee Chhoti Maa, and Chicano Batman, a popular Los Angeles-based four-piece tropicalia rock band. Honorary supporters of SJC, include California Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. The 300 attendees included SJC board members, as well as fans who never miss a Chicano Batman show, and their friends catching these performances for the first time.
The over $5,000 raised at the benefit concert will go directly to provide legal representation for young people going through deportation proceedings.