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Immigration Rights

No Human Being Is Illegal

The Obama administration is deporting record numbers of undocumented immigrants and auditing hundreds of businesses that hire them, attributed largely to several programs, among them, Secure Communities and the 287(g) program, which identify undocumented criminals for deportation. However, government data indicates ¼ of those who have been deported through Secure Communities had not been convicted of committing any crime, and that percentage was vastly higher in some jurisdictions, including Maryland’s Prince George's County, where 2/3 of the 86 undocumented immigrants were not criminals. Critics charge the programs target all undocumented immigrants, not just those ICE say they are going after (violent and dangerous criminals). As a result of increased and seemingly unjust deportations, there is fear in the Latino community and service providers are eager to equip themselves with information and resources to respond to them.

Many local and national legal aid groups have prepared fact sheets and brochures about what to do in different situations if you are an immigrant approached by the police or immigration. Some of these are included below as well as links to news and other resources about Immigrant Rights, local contacts for consultations on immigrant law and for defending immigrants whose rights have been violated, and among other references, how to help children left behind by deported parents.

Many thanks to Cville immigration lawyers Eddie Summers ( and Doug Ford ( for their fine work and for helping to keep this web page updated. Please send an email to to make changes to this page.

NOTE: Creciendo Juntos maintains a neutral position with respect to the immigration debate to avoid distractions from its primary focus of assisting service providers improve services to the local Latino population.


Fact Sheets and Brochures

Stay Informed

Reporting a Problem/Local Consultations

Detentions: Local Policy

Latino Parents & Children

Other Information


Preparing for Immigration Reform / Preparándose para la Reforma de Inmigración
While the prospects don’t look good for immigration reform any time soon, this pamphlet advises Latinos about the documents they should have to access both immigration reform and agencies receiving federal funds, like Social Services.
Source: Eddie Summers (, Charlottesville Immigration Law Center

Know Your Rights if questioned by police, FBI or immigration agents

ACLU (English)

ACLU (Spanish)

Brochures: adapted to include the phone number of the Legal Aid Justice Center here in Charlottesville:



What to do in the case of an immigration raid

Legal Aid Justice Center (English): Click Here

Legal Aid Justice Center (Spanish): Click Here

Immigrant Protests - What Every Worker Should Know

National Immigration Law Center in California (English) (off-site)

National Immigration Law Center in California (Spanish)


VACOLA Clipping Service
A daily clipping service on legal issues relating to the Virginia Latino population is provided by the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLA), an alliance among organizations in Virginia that serve or support the interests of the Latino/Hispanic community to empower the community and secure equal treatment, equal opportunity, and equal representation for Latinos/Hispanics. Location:

This Week in Immigration
This weekly clipping service is operated by the Center for Immigration Studies which “is animated by a pro-immigrant, low-immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.”

We Can Stop the Hate
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) launched this campaign to address the surge of hate and violence in the immigration debate. Extremists are defining the issue of immigration—and the portrayal of Hispanic Americans—at every level. The time has come to take hate out of the debate. Immigration is a serious issue requiring a reasoned and thoughtful discussion.

Immigration Pro/Con
A new website providing summaries of arguments related to a range of issues raised in the debates about legal and illegal immigration. One comment about the site is: “Not exhaustive but a handy source for quick access to some helpful material.”

National Conference of State Legislatures
Compiles information on immigration policy proposals.

National Immigration Law Center
News, laws and other resources.

National Council of La Raza
Web site for the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

Immigration news and resources page.

De-Romanticizing Our Immigrant Past: Why Claiming "My Family Came Legally" Is Often a Myth (November 25, 2008) A fact sheet on how the definition of who came to the country "legally" and "illegally" has changed with the evolution of immigration laws.


The following provide legal assistance to immigrants with immigration problems:

Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC)
Address: 1000 Preston Avenue, Suite A, Charlottesville 22902
Telephone: (434) 977-0553
Contact: Tim Freilich, Extension 111,
Contact: Doug Ford, UVA Immigration Law Clinic, Extension 136,
Contact: Phil Storey,
Contact: Dan Nagin, UVA Family Resource Clinic, a joint project with LAJC, 434/-243-4320,
Contact: John Conover or Erin Trodden, (434) 977-0553,,
Bilingual (English/Spanish) lawyers help qualified immigrants on many issues and invite reports about local immigration detentions. Tim is the point person for Virginia immigration bills and laws and also helps immigrants with employment problems, like not receiving pay. Doug assists immigrants who have been unjustly taken into custody by the police or immigration. Dan’s office assists immigrants who confront a language barrier when trying to access services from government offices, hospitals, and other agencies. Reports about suspicious housing policies should be directed to John; while he is not bilingual, Erin is. Phil has been focusing on language access issues.

Charlottesville Immigration Law Center / Braverman & Lin, P.C.
Address: 226 Douglas Ave., Charlottesville, VA 22902
Telephone: (434) 220-2799
Web Site:
Contact: Eddie Summers,
The Center provides services covering the full range of immigration issues from filing of applications through representation before the immigration and federal courts. It not only helps individuals but provides services to employers of immigrants and has an informative web page about the documents immigrants should be obtaining in order to qualify for future benefit programs ( Mr. Summers is bilingual (English/Spanish).

Immigration Program
Washington & Lee School Of Law
Address: Lexington
Telephone: (540) 458-8334)
Web Site:
The program represents immigrants, including those in our area, who cannot afford private attorneys in a variety of legal matters, including VAWA, U visas, SIJ, asylum, adjustment, naturalization, deportation defense, and other matters.

Law Offices of Elva Mason
Address: 509 12th Street, NW, Charlottesville 22903
Telephone: (434) 984-6664
Contact: Elva Mason,
This practice focuses on civil & legal matters related to family law (child custody/child support/domestic violence), and landlord tenant matters.

Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Fair Housing Program
Telephone: 434/817-2436
Contact: Loretta White, Ext 112,
Loretta coordinates public awareness advertising campaign and community education initiatives related to housing discrimination policy. While she is not bilingual, her coworker Peter Loach is and is available to speak with Latinos.


ICE Detainee Locator
On the online ICE Detainee Locator you can search for anyone in ICE custody or who was released from custody in the past 60 days.

Albemarle Police Department
Policy: Rights of Foreign Nationals / Diplomatic Immunity / Immigration Detainer
Click here.

Immigration Detention Centers
Many Charlottesville detainees are first held at the Regional Jail (434) 977-6981 before being transferred to an immigration detention center. Click here for a list of area immigration detention centers and click here for a directory of them which includes contact information, visiting hours, etc.


2008 was a year when immigration officials stepped up efforts to seize and deport undocumented immigrants, especially Latinos. In September 2008, several immigration detentions of Latino adults in the Charlottesville area alarmed schools and other agencies working with Latino children. The following month, concerns and ideas from the CJ Plenary “Latino children & Detentions”, led to the creation of this section of the CJ website.

Deportations often cause law-biding and hard-working undocumented adult immigrants to lose money in bank accounts, their homes and vehicles, and outstanding paychecks. Children of deported parents can be taken into custody by Social Services if prior legal arrangements have not been made. Immigration rights activists across the US are now organizing Prepare for Action Kits (PAK) to help Latinos prepare for a possible detention. The kits include passports for U.S.-born children, contact info for an attorney, information on their legal rights and other materials that can keep families together or help relatives take custody of a child separated from his deported parent or retrieve a last paycheck.

The purpose of this section is to provide tools to understand problems associated with deportation; to help service providers encourage and help Latino parents prepare for an immigration detention; and to respond to the needs of their children, who are typically US born citizens.

DREAM Act: This Federal legislation provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children who graduate from high school. It was defeated, largely by Republican congressmen, in late 2010. Advocates are still working towards the reform. Fact sheets and other references are at

Children Of The Undocumented (December 2010).This Urban Institute forum discusses the demographics of the children of the undocumented, explores the developmental and educational challenges they face, examines social and cultural barriers to integration, and debates how public policy and agencies can foster a healthy atmosphere for children living and learning here. Listen to the webcast at

88,000 US Citizen Children Lost Lawful Immigrant Parent To Deportation: Children Left Behind Suffer Psychological, Behavioral Problems (March 2010)
According to a report from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Davis, the U.S. has deported the lawful immigrant parents of nearly 88,000 citizen children in just a decade. The report finds that forced removal of lawful permanent resident parents (or green card holders) convicted of relatively minor crimes can lead to psychological harm, behavioral changes, and disruptions in the health and education of tens of thousands of citizen children. Drastic revisions to U.S. immigration laws in 1996 have led to large numbers of deported lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who now make up nearly 10 percent of immigrants deported from the U.S. More than 68 percent of this group is deported for minor crimes, including driving under the influence, simple assault, and non-violent drug offenses. The report also makes a number of recommendations. Access it at:

Deportation Manual (2009)
The Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice published a Deportation Manual providing an excellent overview of the issues relating to deportation. While the information in the Appendix is for the Southeast and doesn't apply in the Cville area, the 26 page document is full of useful information. Access it at:

Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement (February 2010)
This Urban Institute report examines the consequences of parental arrest, detention, and deportation on 190 children in 85 families in six locations, providing in-depth details on parent-child separations, economic hardships, and children's well-being. The contentious immigration debates around the country mostly revolve around illegal immigration. Less visible have been the 5.5 million children with unauthorized parents, almost three-quarters of whom are U.S.-born citizens. Over several years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intensified enforcement activities through large-scale worksite arrests, home arrests, and arrests by local law enforcement. The report provides recommendations for stakeholders to mitigate the harmful effects of immigration enforcement on children.

Severing a Lifeline: The Neglect of Citizen Children in America’s Immigration Enforcement Policy (March 2009)
This report summarizes the issues surrounding the impact of the current immigration system - specifically raids and removals - on US citizen children. The report brings together many issues such as the failure of ICE to fully take into account humanitarian needs in raids, the trauma to US children from home raids, the fact that the immigration court and system give virtually no weight to the effect of removal on US citizen children, and the likelihood of the US children being effectively deported along with their families.” Removals Involving Illegal Alien Parents of U.S. Citizen Children (January 2009) The Homeland Security report indicates that between 1998 and 2007, the US conducted 2,199,138 alien removals, and 108,434 of those aliens were parents of U.S. citizen children.

The Child Citizen Protection Act, H.R. 182 (January 2009)
This bill would untie the hands of immigration judges to take family situations into account during deportation proceedings. Currently, an immigration judge cannot balance family unity against deportation requirements. In many cases, this has led to one or both parents of child citizens being deported; forcing them to either leave the child behind or take the child to a country he or she never knew. The bill “ Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act, in the case of an alien subject to removal, deportation, or exclusion who is the parent of a U.S. citizen child, to authorize an immigration judge to decline to order such removal if the judge determines that such action is against the child's best interests."

Creciendo Juntos (CJ): Immigrant Detentions and Latino Children
A reference sheet from the CJ October 2008 panel: Immigration Detentions and Children

Immigration raids impact local families. A Cville weekly report that includes coverage of the CJ October 2008 panel.

Group Urges Latino Immigrants to Prepare
This two minute NBC29 video report and transcript is about the CJ October 2008 panel urging local service providers to urge undocumented Latino parents to prepare for detention.

Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth (2008)
This guide covers legal status (what rights you have if you are a US citizen, a permanent resident, or illegal), how to become a citizen, how to get legal papers, deportation issues, adoption issues, Selective Service, voting, taxes, college, etc. Although aimed at older kids, it provides a concise overview of a number of issues that are probably of interest to folks who work with these families, like who qualifies as a special immigrant and what the rules are on joining the military, paying taxes, voting, getting public assistance, etc.
Source: Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Undocumented Immigrant Youth: Guide for Advocates and Service Providers (2007)
Outlines the risks and obstacles that undocumented immigrant youth face in both the immigration and juvenile justice systems. The brief also recommends policies and actions that immigration advocates, youth advocates, and service providers could adopt to improve the safety and well-being of immigrant youth.
Source: National Collaboration for Youth and National Juvenile Justice Network

Power of Attorney and Guardianship Documents Initiative
Immigration attorney Eddie Summers has been working with Legal Aid Justice Center interns to develop bilingual power of attorney and guardianship documents that service providers can circulate to Latino families to help them deal with the complications of possible detentions. For more information, contact Eddy at or (434) 220-2799

El PAK: Paquete de Preparación Para la Acción
PAK: Preparation for Action Kit (December 2007)
North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Hispanic and Latino Division
The bilingual comprehensive guideline (43 pages), the Preparation for Action Kit (PAK), helps Latinos prepare for deportation in ways to protect their children and assets.

Deportation Preparation Checklist (English – Spanish)
North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Hispanic and Latino Division June 2007

How Can I Find the Parent?
Click here for a list of area immigration detention centers and click here for a directory of them which includes contact information, visiting hours, etc. Many Charlottesville detainees are first held at the Regional Jail (434) 977-6981.

Who Do I Call at Albemarle County Schools?
If you know of a Latino child who attends an Albemarle School and whose parents have been detained, please call Courtney Stewart, or her secretary Nancy Lam, at Albemarle County Schools: (434) 296-6517.

Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children.
Since 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has intensified immigration enforcement activities by conducting several large-scale worksite raids across the country. From an in-depth study of three communities—Greeley, CO, Grand Island, NE and New Bedford, MA—this Urban Institute report (October 2007) details the impact of these worksite raids on the well-being of children. The report provides detailed recommendations to a variety of stakeholders to help mitigate the harmful effects of worksite raids on children.

The Traumatic Nature of Separation. Presentation of Charlottesville mental health therapist Michael Garcia during the CJ Panel (October 2008), Immigration Detentions & LatinoChildren.

What Mental Health Services Are Available for Latino Parents and Children?
Michel Garcia, a Charlottesville bilingual and bicultural therapist, has experience working with parents and children who may be fearful of a potential detention or dealing with the burdens of an actual detention. He can be reached at (434) 981-7249. Other bilingual therapists working with Latinos can be found in the CJ Mental Health Directory at:

Helping immigrant and refugee students succeed: It¹s not just what happens in the classroom (2009)
Problematic behaviors exhibited by students have a direct impact on student success and the importance of engaging families for student academic achievement has been well documented. The challenges are more pronounced among immigrant and refugee students and their families. An eight page publication from the George Washington University’s Center for Health and Health Care in Schools addresses them.

English: Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth (August 2008)

Spanish: Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth (July 2008)

ELLs and the Law: Statutes, Precedents. These are among the cases and laws that scholars and advocates consider landmarks in the area of the rights of language-minority and immigrant students.


Immigration Options for Victims of Crime. A 2010 USCIS brochure on the T (trafficking victim), U (crime victim), and VAWA (victims of domestic violence) options. For details on each of these visas, conduct a search on the USCIS site:

Virginia General Assembly for 2010: Legislation of Interest to the Immigrant Community
This end of session report, prepared by CG2 Consulting, summarizes positive and negative legislation addressed by the 2010 General Assembly which adjourned in March for 2010.

Immigration Detainers: A Comprehensive Look.
What is an immigration detainer and how does it work? Are detainers only placed on unauthorized immigrants? What happens after an immigration detainer has expired? What are the consequences of immigration detainers? In order to better understand immigration detainers’ function and impact, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) provided a Fact Check in February 2010 to shed much needed light on this often misunderstood immigration enforcement tool.

Court-issued Warrant vs an ICE warrant
ICE cannot enter a home without a court-issued warrant; the ICE warrant is not sufficient. According to Eddie Summers, Charlottesville Immigration Center,, “The immigrant can ask to see a warrant - slid under the door, for example - but there is no guarantee they can tell the difference, even if they are fluent in English. Warrant or no, the immigrant can refuse to answer the door or refuse to allow the ICE agent in. If it is the police and they have a criminal warrant, they will generally come in whether you open the door or not.” For a related excerpt from a transcript of an August 2008 podcast between John Seaman, a senior legal instructor with the Legal Division at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and Jenna Solari, a senior legal instructor with the FLETC Legal Division, visit:

Preparing for a Future Benefits Program: A guide for individuals and organizations
A discussion and list of documents, prepared by the Charlottesville Immigration Law Center in 2006, about what documents Latinos and other immigrants should obtain to be eligible for benefits.

The Naturalization Interview and Test. This USCIS page offers a video about the process, including several simulated interviews, and links to many other resources.