On April 16, 2019, JusticeAid returned to the Hamilton in Washington, DC with a music benefit featuring Los Angeles-based Los Lobos.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we raised more than $130,000 for the Immigrant Defense Project, our 2019 beneficiary that works to secure fairness and justice for immigrants in the racially-biased U.S. criminal and immigration systems.
The evening prior to the event, as part of JusticeAid’s educational outreach efforts, we presented Indefensible: Immigrants Trapped by the Criminalization of the Immigration Process, a free public forum held at the True Reformer Building at Public Welfare Foundation.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D) joined Professor Alina Das (NYU Law, Immigrant Rights Clinic), activists Jonathan Jayes-Green (Co-founder of UndocuBlack Network) and Alejandra Pablos (#KeepAleFree), and moderator Mizue Aizeki (Deputy Director, Immigrant Defense Project) for a discussion on the rights of immigrants at the intersection of today’s criminal and immigration systems.
The exchange was far-reaching and intersectional, focusing not just on the impact of these unfair systems on communities but also the relationship between anti-immigration measures and racism and this country’s long history of isolating “the other.” In discussing what it means to abolish ICE, panelists raised several ideas, including defunding the agency, abolishing detention, and examining the role of tech in mass surveillance.
Panelists shared some individual victories as well. Ocasio-Cortez spoke about a constituent who beat deportation after being detained. Professor Das referenced the release of a client who was detained eight years after paying her debt. Alejandra Pablos talked movingly about her personal journey of fighting deportation, and Jonathan Jayes-Green highlighted UnDocuBlack’s advocacy for performer 21Savage.