RMIAN Turns 20
The History and Work of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
December 2020Download This Article (.pdf)
This article takes an up close look at the service provision side of immigration law in Colorado. It celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network by relating its history in the context of developments in immigration law.
The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, or RMIAN, is 20 years old this year. RMIAN has now been around for almost an entire generation, but it feels like it was born just yesterday. This article discusses RMIAN’s history and its growth alongside developments in immigration law.
What is RMIAN?
RMIAN is a nonprofit organization serving low-income adults and children in immigration proceedings. “RMIAN promotes knowledge of legal rights, provides effective representation to ensure due process, works to improve detention conditions, and promotes a more humane immigration system, including alternatives to detention.”
RMIAN’s beginnings are rooted in shared values that brought its founders together and remain at the core of its mission. The RMIAN story reflects a balance between ideals and pragmatism in the practice of immigration law.
The authors have been involved in RMIAN from its inception and share its story to highlight the dedication of immigration practitioners to RMIAN’s core idea that justice for immigrants is justice for all. This goal motivates RMIAN’s collaborative network, which includes hundreds of lawyers and other volunteers who often say that their work on a RMIAN case was one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.
Today RMIAN is a vibrant organization with a sophisticated and committed staff, as well as a broad network of volunteers with diverse skills and experiences who deliver a variety of interlocking programs to a vast array of immigrant clients and communities. RMIAN allows thousands of individuals in Colorado to navigate a complex immigration system with the benefit of legal assistance. But it wasn’t always that way.
The Origin Story
RMIAN started with a total budget of about $5,000, enough to pay a part-time law student. It was unknown whether the organization would expire when the $5,000 ran out, but its founders took a chance, knowing that even that small amount would mean help for a few people and make it a meaningful effort.
In the early 1990s, Dan Kowalski, chair of the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and Hiroshi Motomura, professor at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, recognized a need for immigrant representation in the Denver area, and they joined forces to find a solution.
Then as now, the federal government held deportation hearings, some in the federal building in downtown Denver, and some at the immigration detention facility in Aurora. Then as now, many individuals at risk of deportation had valid claims under US law to remain in the United States. But they often didn’t know how to access lawful status, and the government doesn’t provide lawyers for individuals facing deportation who can’t afford one. Many of these individuals don’t speak English, and in the 1990s there was no system for informing them about their basic rights. And then as now, they were locked up.
Dan knew immigration lawyers who could be counted on to take an occasional pro bono case. These lawyers were also willing to mentor other volunteer lawyers who didn’t have much immigration law knowledge or experience. And Hiroshi knew that law students at both the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Denver were eager to volunteer and gain practical experience by interviewing individuals in immigration detention and analyzing their cases with the help of immigration lawyers.
Many detained individuals were asylum seekers from all around the world. Others in need of legal representation were lawful permanent residents of the United States. Some had criminal convictions that made them deportable, but defenses were available under US law to those who could document and argue their cases. Some were specified survivors of domestic violence eligible to self-petition for status, a form of humanitarian relief that would expand greatly in the 2000s to include visas for survivors of human trafficking and a range of other crimes. Once in a while a detained individual had a valid claim to US citizenship but needed professional help to gather the relevant papers and prove their status. Then as now, at stake in these cases was the ability to utilize the rule of law.
It took a lot of work by many people to put RMIAN into action. Dan took the key step of organizing what became the Pro Bono Coordinating Committee of the Colorado Chapter of AILA (Coordinating Committee). The broader community of Colorado lawyers got involved. The Denver Bar Association, through its Metro Volunteer Lawyers program, contributed a phone line for detained individuals to leave messages asking for help with their cases. At a time before email, websites, and other electronic communication channels were available, this phone line was a lifeline. Law students from both CU and DU put their energy and talent to work with a budget that hovered around zero.
In retrospect it may seem that the path they took was inevitable. But these early years of what became RMIAN were precarious. At times, no students were available to conduct intake, so the project temporarily went dormant. But the idea didn’t die, and these short periods of hibernation allowed the growing team of volunteers to regroup, to reassess and reaffirm its commitment to pro bono legal services for immigrants and return with more energy.
The model that would become central to RMIAN’s identity and operations slowly evolved. There were more cases than immigration lawyers in the Denver area could handle, but there were plenty of lawyers willing to take pro bono cases if they received basic immigration law training and mentoring and could be matched with detained individuals needing representation.
The next step was an important collaboration with the CBA, which hosted what became an annual training program for volunteer lawyers with little or no knowledge of immigration law. The volunteers could attend an all-day training for a nominal charge in exchange for taking one pro bono case. At a time before it was possible to reach Colorado lawyers by email, CBA-CLE printed and mailed thousands of brochures for this annual training program.
Thus, what became RMIAN adopted, by necessity, what is still an exceptionally efficient approach to pro bono legal services today: A core group mobilizes the resources and goodwill of many volunteer lawyers to provide immigration law services to indigent clients who would otherwise not receive help. Simultaneously, RMIAN grew its financial support, allowing it to hire staff attorneys to provide direct representation to clients and provide critical mentoring to its volunteer attorney network.
While RMIAN started with a relatively small know-your-rights program at the Aurora immigration detention center, it now engages in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy to advance its clients’ rights. RMIAN is ever working toward the goal of legal representation for 100% of individuals in immigration proceedings.
RMIAN was still on shaky ground in the mid-to-late 1990s with only about a half-dozen or so volunteers. But then the team took on several key contributors, notably Pat Medige, at that time fresh out of law school at DU. Other members of this core group of young lawyers included Laura Lichter, Jeff Joseph, Carol Lehman, Ari Weitzhandler, and Laurie Herndon, as well as law school interns who joined when they became lawyers. Professors Norm Aaronson and Juliet Gilbert at CU, and Cecelia Espenoza at DU, were regular collaborators.
Throughout the 1990s, the Coordinating Committee organized lots of moving parts. It supervised student interns and detention center intake by pro bono attorneys from AILA, and it oversaw training programs and mentoring for Denver-area volunteer lawyers.
A key development in RMIAN’s establishment occurred through the support of the American Bar Association, in the form of a mini-grant that supported fledgling pro bono programs. With the $5,000 mini-grant, the Coordinating Committee hired a part-time law student to assess the Coordinating Committee’s efforts, explore the elements of effective referral models, and research various existing pro bono models. That seed money enabled RMIAN to select a service model that continues to this day.
One key recommendation from the law student’s final report was that the Coordinating Committee should hire a pro bono coordinator, rather than haphazardly relying on volunteers or other organizations. The Coordinating Committee determined that to fundraise and hire a coordinator the project would have to “grow up” and become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Holland and Hart, which at that time was generously hosting the Coordinating Committee’s increasingly regular meetings, stepped up to handle RMIAN’s incorporation as a nonprofit.
The team tossed around at lot of names before deciding on RMIAN. The effort was clearly regional, hence “Rocky Mountain.” The mission was to help immigrants, so advocacy for them was central. The commitment was to outreach to mobilize and empower others, hence a network. And it may have been a quirky attraction for an immigration law pro bono project involved largely in fighting deportation to have an acronym that would be, with a bit of offbeat phonetics, pronounced “remain.” And so RMIAN it became.
RMIAN received another ABA grant, along with $12,000 from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, to fund its first pro bono coordinator, Sun-Young Chi (now Hendrick), a former student of Hiroshi. Sun-Young became not only RMIAN’s first employee but also its first executive director. Pat Medige became president of the board of directors, at the time thinking it would be a brief year or two stint. Twenty years later, Pat remains at the board helm. And in 2003, RMIAN hired Mekela Goehring as its first staff attorney following her clerkship with Judge Casebolt on the Colorado Court of Appeals. RMIAN offered the position—and Mekela took it—knowing that funding was precarious. But the board knew that even if RMIAN didn’t make it in the long term, at a minimum it would have launched the careers of two well-trained immigrant advocates. Mekela became executive director in 2005 and continues to serve in that role today.
Immigration Law Evolves Alongside RMIAN
As RMIAN put down roots as an organization, immigration law was changing. In 1996, Congress enacted major legislation that made it more difficult to claim asylum in the United States. These laws also put longtime noncitizen residents of the United States, including lawful permanent residents, at much higher risk of deportation, by adding conduct that triggers the deportation process and narrowing defenses. The detention facility in Aurora began a series of expansions that continues to this day. The needs of indigent noncitizens for professional help in navigating treacherous legal terrain were becoming more acute every month.
In 2003 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) chose RMIAN as one of just six organizations nationwide to participate in a new program to help noncitizens in detention through the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). This enabled RMIAN to rise to the new legal challenges, and for the first time, gave it steady core funding for its pro bono work. Although LOP funding could not be used for direct representation, the LOP allowed RMIAN to provide general orientations to every detained individual in removal (formerly “deportation”) proceedings, conduct intakes with those individuals not represented, and then refer cases to pro bono lawyers.
During this time RMIAN began getting calls from children who were in immigration detention, first from a residential youth detention facility in Alamosa, which, like the Aurora adult detention facility, was run by a private corporation. Fleeing persecution in their home countries or domestic violence in their US homes, they were often eligible for protection under immigration law but unsure how to access it. In response to this unmet need, recent RMIAN law student intern Kristin Petri, a 2004 CU Law School graduate, applied for and was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, which funded the “Children’s Program” to serve detained youth.
RMIAN’s effort to serve immigrant children morphed, however, as a result of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which transferred custody of unaccompanied children from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)) to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The transfer led to the government’s re-contracting with detention providers, which resulted in Colorado no longer having any children in immigration custody. In response, the Children’s Project pivoted to provide free immigration legal services to all immigrant children throughout Colorado, not just those in detention.
At the end of the Children’s Program fellowship period, RMIAN’s board and staff members came together to discuss the program’s future. Though the Children’s Program reached beyond RMIAN’s original mission of serving individuals in immigration detention, it was clear that there was a huge unmet need for immigrants who were not detained. RMIAN decided to embark on making the Children’s Program a permanent component of RMIAN. But RMIAN continues to maintain its focus on immigrant children and adults in detention, who are the most vulnerable immigrant populations.
As it became more established, RMIAN’s Children’s Program became a tremendous resource for undocumented youth, their families, and children’s services providers throughout Colorado. In 2014, in response to the surge of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America and the exponentially increased numbers of children on the Denver Immigration Court’s dockets, RMIAN further amplified its work in protecting children’s rights. Through a matching grant from the CBA (the first of its kind), initiated by then-CBA President Charles Garcia, RMIAN was able to hire a pro bono coordinator specifically to match unrepresented children in immigration proceedings with pro bono attorneys. Simultaneously, RMIAN received critical support from foundations and individuals to hire additional staff members to increase its impact.
The detention of children in Colorado resumed under ORR’s authority in December 2019, providing new challenges for RMIAN. The Children’s Program is now once again providing know-your-rights presentations, intakes, and legal representation to this group of children.
Another RMIAN core belief is that serving indigent noncitizens is, in addition to providing legal services, a commitment to understanding their broader needs and aspirations. In so many cases, a legal solution is incomplete.
Meeting this need made it essential to incorporate the unique professional expertise of social workers into RMIAN’s legal services work, especially because enduring immigration detention can have a profound impact on an individual’s and a family’s health and well-being. As a result, in 2010, through the work of then Director of Programs and MSW (and current longtime board member) Rachel Boyle Lee-Ashley, and MSW graduate student Megan Hope, RMIAN founded its Social Service Project (SSP). This innovative interdisciplinary program provides wraparound support to particularly vulnerable individuals in removal proceedings, including people with behavioral health challenges, physical or mental disabilities, or other characteristics that make being detained especially difficult. This work includes helping clients draft declarations and prepare for testimony in ways that minimize re-traumatization, secure letters of support, and obtain forensic and psychological evaluations.
Hope (now RMIAN’s longtime SSP director), two other RMIAN social workers, and one graduate student intern support clients while they are in detention and help them plan for life after release from detention. In many cases, immigration judges have cited the SSP’s release plans as a primary reason for ruling favorably in RMIAN’s clients’ cases. And RMIAN’s SSP has served as a national model for other legal services organizations looking to integrate social workers into their legal work as well.
One example of the SSP’s unique services began when ICE started locating transgender individuals from around the country at the Aurora detention center in 2019. The SSP immediately adapted to serve the unique needs of these individuals, such as advocating for much-needed medical care and working with LGBTQ-centered community organizations to locate sponsors once individuals were released from detention. This work has been enhanced through RMIAN’s partnership with the Denver Health Human Rights Clinic. This collaborative medical-legal partnership has allowed RMIAN to partner with medical professionals to provide forensic evaluations and other medical support to RMIAN’s clients and to expose the inadequacies of medical care for individuals in immigration detention. RMIAN has fostered this and other partnerships with medical and mental health professionals across the state to provide critical support for clients in both the Children’s and Detention Programs.
Another example of SSP’s support was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that remaining in detention could be a death sentence for many, RMIAN’s SSP worked with RMIAN attorneys and clients to seek releases from detention through parole requests to ICE, bond hearings before the Immigration Court, and a group habeas petition filed in federal district court in April 2020 to request the release of 14 medically vulnerable individuals. This work included collaborating with volunteer medical professionals to document medical conditions, both to secure the clients’ release from detention and to support their immigration cases.
RMIAN is more than the sum of its parts. Each program has grown steadily over the years, and as of summer 2020, each has a managing attorney or a director and is staffed by experienced professionals with expertise and heart. This staffing, in turn, has led to an exponential increase in the number of clients RMIAN can serve. In 2019, the Children’s Program directly represented 334 children and conducted 818 individualized legal consultations. The Detention Program provided 328 know-your-rights presentations to 3,168 adults in civil immigration detention, conducted 1,536 individual intakes, and directly represented 135 detained individuals. RMIAN’s SSP provided holistic support to 61 clients in immigration detention. Overall, RMIAN referred 691 new cases to pro bono attorneys in 2019.
Along with statutory amendments, immigration practice is always subject to policy and procedural changes. Examples include frequent government shifts in the Aurora detention center population, such as from housing mostly long-term permanent residents to new arrivals and asylum seekers, and the aforementioned transgender population. Beginning in 2017, more restrictive immigration processing of asylum, humanitarian visa, family immigration, and other applications have created more barriers for immigrants.
In the summer of 2018, RMIAN served both children who had been separated from their families at the border and parents who had been detained while their children were seized. Led by RMIAN Detention Program Managing Attorney Laura Lunn, RMIAN’s detention team staff met with dozens of parents at the Aurora immigration detention center who came to the United States seeking protection from drug cartel, gang, and family violence, as well as government corruption, and then were separated from their children, some as young as 5 years old. RMIAN, through its staff attorneys and network of pro bono attorneys, was able to ensure legal representation for every parent detained at the Aurora detention center who had their children taken away.
RMIAN’s flexibility in meeting changing times is central to its ability to fill human rights and due process needs in Colorado. Recently, the exponential growth of RMIAN’s direct legal representation work has allowed RMIAN to grow and expand its advocacy and policy work. By providing direct representation, RMIAN gains insight into trends and developments on the ground and how policy shifts or legislation can impact the lives of Coloradans. This practical knowledge allows RMIAN to bring unique perspectives to its work with national partners by elevating issues and advocating for change through policy channels, legislation, and litigation. Over the last three years, RMIAN has dramatically expanded its collaboration with local and national partners to work toward increasing access to justice for individuals in immigration detention as well as children and families impacted generally by immigration issues.
Specifically, RMIAN has been at the forefront in working for universal representation for individuals in immigration, ensuring legal representation for all individuals caught up in immigration enforcement and detained in immigration jails. Because removal proceedings and immigration detention are administrative rather than criminal processes, there is no public defender system. To address this problem, for the last year RMIAN has been working intensively with leaders from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) to advocate for both statewide and regional approaches to increasing access to lawyers for individuals in deportation proceedings. This advocacy stems from RMIAN’s work in local initiatives. In October 2018, RMIAN was selected as an inaugural recipient of the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund, a groundbreaking public-private partnership to ensure legal representation for Denver residents. This funding came through Executive Order 142, signed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on August 31, 2017, which established a legal defense fund to provide access to legal representation for indigent individuals in Denver threatened with or in removal proceedings.
Through this funding, RMIAN hired two new attorneys, and for the last two years has been piloting the first-ever universal representation project for individuals in immigration detention in Colorado. An innovative feature of this model is its merits-blind case acceptance system: any low-income Denver resident has access to these RMIAN attorneys, regardless of the initial assessment of their case strengths. The two attorneys can only handle a fraction of the available cases, so RMIAN is working to expand this model so that everyone in immigration detention in Colorado has access to counsel; at the Aurora Immigration Court (housed within the vast Aurora detention center), 69% of people have gone unrepresented over the last five years.
In other RMIAN advocacy efforts, in 2019 Children’s Program Managing Attorney Ashley Harrington led the effort to draft and ensure passage of Colorado HB 19-1042, which provides access to state court for abused, abandoned, and neglected youth between the ages of 18 and 21. In 2020, RMIAN worked on HB 20-1088, which would ensure that immigrant victims of crime who are seeking immigration status based on their victimization and cooperation with law enforcement are treated fairly and uniformly by law enforcement. HB 20-1088 failed to pass, but RMIAN will continue to advocate for this and other legislation to further protect abused, abandoned, and neglected immigrant youth in 2021.
One of the most far-reaching and life-changing improvements in immigration law in the recent past was President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced and adopted in 2012. As soon as DACA was announced, RMIAN partnered with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and other community-based organizations to distribute information to affected families and to organize events to answer questions and help with the application process.
RMIAN hired an attorney and a paralegal to provide services when it appeared that the Obama administration would be able to supplement DACA with a similar program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA) for parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. When a federal court blocked DAPA’s implementation, this attorney-paralegal team shifted focus to assist with DACA initial applications and renewals, as well as to partner with schools and nonprofit organizations to disseminate critical information about the program. Through the leadership of Managing Attorney Ashley Harrington and Senior Paralegal Yazmin Torres, RMIAN has been and continues to be active in representing applicants for initial DACA grants and renewals, sometimes by collaborating with pro bono partners. RMIAN has also been active in national advocacy for DACA, participating in amicus briefs and community education.
RMIAN also works to ensure that existing programs survive. For example, in April 2018, with two weeks’ notice, the Department of Justice announced it would end LOP funding. Affected clients, nonprofit partners, community members, and elected representatives mobilized in those two weeks throughout Colorado and the country to save this important program. Mayor Hancock and nearly all the Denver City Council members sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions urging the LOP’s continuation. Representative Polis and Senator Bennet wrote and signed on to statements demanding that the LOP continue. And RMIAN’s clients spoke out against the program’s termination.
This tireless advocacy helped avert a decision that would have had disastrous impacts on individuals in civil immigration detention in Colorado and beyond. Fortunately, the LOP thrives today under the leadership of attorney Brittany Hurley. But the tenuousness of this demonstrably effective national program was a call to action to RMIAN and its partners that its mission remains ever critical.
Finally, RMIAN’s flexibility to adapt to new circumstances has been especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. This public health crisis has impacted the clients and communities RMIAN serves as well as RMIAN’s staff. Under RMIAN’s strong leadership, its team has continued to provide essential services, including representing clients in detention in quarantine settings and advocating for the release of medically vulnerable individuals in immigration detention.
Like the struggles of all nonprofit organizations, RMIAN’s growth has been tied to its ability to secure funding to support its work. Funding is always tight, but it comes from a much wider array of sources than the early days, when LOP funding was 95% of RMIAN’s budget. RMIAN’s direct representation work first expanded in the detention context when it was selected as a contractor for the National Qualified Representative Program, a nationwide program to provide representation to individuals in civil immigration detention with mental and developmental disabilities. Since that time, RMIAN has worked diligently to continue to secure additional funding to support additional staff attorneys for direct representation of detained clients. This growth has been made possible through generous foundations and individual donors, as well as through a campaign created by longtime Colorado lawyers Ed Kahn and Kathleen Mullen to mobilize the legal community to support a full-time RMIAN attorney solely dedicated to direct representation for detained individuals.
RMIAN works zealously to sustain and grow its programming through diversified funding. Over the past three years, it has doubled both its budget and its staff. This success was made possible by increasing the number of grants it receives, as well as exponentially increasing individual donations. For example, from 2017 to 2019 RMIAN doubled the dollars that it received in foundation funding. During the same time period, RMIAN tripled the dollars it received through individual donations. Throughout all this growth, the leadership of RMIAN’s Director of Operations Kenny Hood and Director of Systems Mayra Prieto has allowed RMIAN not only to thrive but also to streamline its operations, including a move into a larger office.
RMIAN’s network of allies who support its fundraising and policy work make possible both its ongoing work and its efforts to keep doing more.
From its beginning 20 years ago, RMIAN has brought the Rocky Mountain community together around the shared understanding that justice for immigrants is essential to justice for all. RMIAN’s network of volunteer professionals in the legal and social services fields has weathered legislative, policy, and funding challenges to remain a vibrant force in the lives of immigrants in Colorado and beyond.
1. RMIAN Mission Statement, https://www.rmian.org. Visit the website to also obtain information about engaging in immigrant advocacy.
2. Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 (codified as amended in various sections of 8 USC).
4. DOJ, Legal Orientation Program, https://www.justice.gov/eoir/legal-orientation-program.
5. Equal Justice Works, Mobilizing Passionate Public Service Leaders, https://www.equaljusticeworks.org.
6. Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107–296, 116 Stat. 2135.
7. Codner v. Choate, No. 1:20-cv-10150-KLM (D.Colo. Apr. 14, 2020).
8. These release requests urged the court to recognize that it is impossible for the detention center to enact COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing, preventive hygiene, and the medical isolation of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
9. RMIAN Annual Report, https://www.rmian.org/annualreport.
11. RMIAN Annual Report, 2019 Highlights, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57f6bd842e69cf55d8158641/t/5e8652d31b10085717541909/1585861332740/RMIAN_2019AnnualReport.pdf.
12. RMIAN Annual Report, supra note 9.
13. See, e.g., Office of the Attorney General, Memorandum for All Federal Prosecutors: Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement (Apr. 11, 2017), https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/956841/download; US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Policy Memorandum: Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens (June 28, 2018), www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2018/2018-06-28-PM-602-0050.1-Guidance-for-Referral-of-Cases-and-Issuance-of-NTA.pdf; and USCIS, Policy Memorandum: Issuance of Certain RFEs and NOIDs; Revisions to Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 10.5(a), Chapter 10.5(b) (July 13, 2018), https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/memos/AFM_10_Standards_for_RFEs_and_NOIDs_FINAL2.pdf.
14. Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Exec. Order No. 142 (Aug. 31, 2017), https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/executiveorders/142-Standing-With-Immigrants-And-Refugees.pdf.
15. See Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Details on Deportation Proceedings in Immigration Court,” https://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/nta.
16. HB 19-1042, http://www.leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1042.
17. HB 20-1088, https://www.leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb20-1088.
18. US Dep’t of Homeland Security, Memorandum: Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children (June 15, 2012), https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who-came-to-us-as-children.pdf.
19. United States v. Texas, 136 S.Ct. 2271 (2016).
20. Letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Apr. 19, 2018), https://www.denvergov.org/content/dam/denvergov/Portals/728/documents/Documents/Denver%20Letter%20to%20Department%20of%20Justice%20re%20Legal%20Orientation%20Program.pdf.
21. See, e.g., Letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Apr. 18, 2018), https://www.menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/LETTER_DOJ_LOP.pdf.
22. DOJ, Opening Statement of Attorney General Jeff Sessions Before the Senate Appropriations Subcomm. on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (Apr. 25, 2018), https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/opening-statement-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-senate-appropriations-subcommittee.
23. Documentation is on file with RMIAN’s board of directors and is available upon request.
While RMIAN started with a relatively small know-your-rights program at the Aurora immigration detention center, it now engages in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy to advance its clients’ rights. RMIAN is ever working toward the goal of legal representation for 100% of individuals in immigration proceedings.