Appleseed Immigration Project

Beginning in October 2017, New Jersey Appleseed will partner with the national Appleseed organization and our sister groups in Louisiana, Texas, Connecticut and Mexico to help immigrants and immigrant families who are facing deportation.

The focus of the project is to support wider dissemination of a Manual created by national Appleseed in 2012 and recently updated: “Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation: A Guide for Practitioners Assisting Immigrant Families.”

It is a one-of-a-kind resource, designed for immigrants and those who work with them—attorneys, nurses, social workers, religious workers and others who are stepping up in these challenging times. It will help families develop plans in advance to deal with critical financial and family issues in the event of deportation, arrest and other family emergencies.

Among the broad range of deportation-impacted areas addressed by the Manual are handling bank accounts, bills, unpaid wages, credit cards, leases, loans and other financial concerns; and dealing with the psychological aspects.

The Manual is available in Spanish and comes with a Checklist, also in Spanish, pertaining to some of the various topics it covers, as follows:

Chapter 1:          Checklist          Child Custody

Chapter 2:          Checklist          Protecting Money and Benefits for Your Kids

Chapter 6:          Checklist          Bank Accounts

Chapter 7:          Checklist          Credit Cards, Prepaid and Debit Cards

Chapter 8:          Checklist          Short-Term Service Contracts

Chapter 9:          Checklist          Payday and Other Short-Term Loans

Chapter 10:        Checklist          Insurance

Chapter 11:        Checklist          Powers of Attorney

Chapter 14:        Checklist          Residential Leases

Chapter 15:        Checklist          Handling Valuables

Chapter 16:        Checklist          Taking Money Across the Border

Chapter 19:        Checklist          Social Security

Chapter 21:        Checklist          Dissolving or Selling a Business

Chapter 22:        Checklist           Filing Taxes

The Manual was updated last year and officially launched in partnership with the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. on June 7, 2017.

NJ Appleseed is working with other centers around the country and in Mexico to distribute the Deportation Manual to local immigrant advocacy organizations and other groups that provide services to immigrants or work with practitioners who do so, such as legal organizations, medical professionals, social workers and financial services professionals. In New Jersey, these include the American Friends Service Committee, NJ Association for Children, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network and the Lowenstein Public Interest Law Center. We will also coordinate with the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia.

NJ Appleseed will also organize the training of law students at Rutgers and Seton Hall Law Schools so that they will be able to assist immigrant families through the supervised clinical programs at those schools.

In addition, NJ Appleseed will share with the same lawyers and groups, as well as law schools, bar associations and others, a more general Practice Guide geared toward lawyers who are new to immigration work. “Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases” is meant to help them navigate the complicated U.S. immigration court system and save immigrants from deportation, exile and persecution.

The Guide provides an overview of immigration court proceedings, as well as specific sections on working with clients in detention, obtaining client documents from the government, pre-hearing communications with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), dealing with interpretation and videoconferencing challenges and reporting immigration judge and DHS attorney misconduct. It also provides several template and sample documents to assist attorneys in these cases. Appleseed attorneys from around the country and pro bono counsel from the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld created the Guide.

A key ally in this project is the Princeton AlumniCorps, a network of Princeton University alumni, students and non-profit groups, whose mission is “to mobilize people, organizations and networks for the public good.” Like Appleseed, it was founded by Princeton graduate Ralph Nader.

The project is funded by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, based in Baltimore, whose mission is “developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes”  through its focus on “strengthening families, building stronger communities and ensuring access to opportunity.”

Both manuals can be downloaded from the links in the text above or those directly below:

Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation: A Guide for Practitioners Assisting Immigrant Families

Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases

Other resources, including training videos based on the “Protecting Assets and Child Custody” and “Getting off the Assembly Line” Guides, are available on the national Appleseed website.