CGRS Steps Up Services in Response to Skyrocketing Demand

August 22, 2017 - Under the Trump Administration’s new immigration enforcement priorities, many asylum seekers are now facing the terrifying possibility of being deported to violence and persecution in their home countries. As a result, CGRS has experienced a sharp rise in the demand for our expertise in asylum law. Over the past three years, the volume of requests for technical assistance in asylum cases we received on a daily basis had already been steadily increasing, largely due to rampant gang- and gender-based violence in Central America, which has driven many women, children, and families to flee. In 2016, we responded to a record number of nearly 3,000 requests for assistance. But since the issuance of President Trump’s anti-immigrant Executive Orders in January, we have been absolutely inundated at a level we have never seen before. We are currently responding to more than 450 requests per month, putting us on pace to respond to over 5,500 requests for assistance from attorneys representing asylum seekers in 2017.

San Francisco Immigration Judge Dana Marks often likens asylum hearings to “trying a death penalty case in traffic court.” She understands that her decision to grant or deny an asylum claim can have life or death consequences for the applicant. At CGRS, we do not turn down requests for assistance in a single case because we know that for asylum seekers effective legal representation can be life-saving. In order to sustain our technical assistance program at its current caliber, we are working closely with a web development team to make improvements to our online asylum case database that will help us address the current level of demand. We have also hired several stellar new attorneys and support staff who are working together to reduce response times and provide in-depth, one-on-one consultations to advocates in need of more individualized support.

Our team at CGRS is honored to collaborate with attorneys from around the country who vigorously defend the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers every day. Quality, zealous legal representation has the potential to tip the scales of justice in favor of asylum seekers and others looking to the United States for safe haven. The Trump Administration’s immigration agenda certainly threatens the advances in asylum law and policy that we have worked so hard to achieve. But we will not turn back now. CGRS is leveraging our experience and knowledge to defend hard-won victories and provide attorneys with the expertise and resources necessary to advocate for the just treatment of women, children, and LGBT asylum seekers. Please help us answer the growing and urgent need for expertise in asylum cases by making a gift today. Together, we can ensure that no refugee is denied her right to protection from persecution.

Photo from Mary Altaffer, Associated Press.