(ESPAÑOL) The city of Cambridge will create a legal defense fund to protect low-income immigrants from deportation, Mayor Marc McGovern announced Monday.
The fund will be used to help nonprofit legal defense providers who represent immigrants facing possible deportation, officials said at a press conference held at the Mayor’s Office. The city’s goal is to raise $500,000 for the fund through public and private donations by May 15. So far they have raised more than $50,000.
Geeta Pradhan, president of CCF, said the funds would be used specifically to help those previously protected by DACA and are now at risk of deportation, as well as asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors, juveniles, and other “highly vulnerable persons” including victims of trafficking and sexual and domestic violence.
The fund is not limited to helping immigrants living in Cambridge.
“We need to be sort of open and generous about this fund, and think creatively about how we support people,” Pradhan said.
She added that in order for the fund to work, people need to tell their friends and families about it and help raise funds.
“What we are urging people to do is send this out to your networks,” Pradhan said. “This actually has to go viral, that’s the only way that it will raise the money that we need to raise.”
Cambridge has a long history of supporting immigrant communities, including becoming one of the nation’s first sanctuary cities in 1985, McGovern said during a press conference Monday. In 2016, the city formed a Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship, which hosts monthly legal clinics, and earlier this year McGovern appointed a liaison on immigrant affairs.
Despite the city’s efforts, McGovern said more needs to be done.
“Cambridge must embrace the full meaning of being a sanctuary city by ensuring that our own residents, some of whom have been members of [our] community, our schools, our churches and businesses for decades, are protected from xenophobic policies,” McGovern said.