Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Sep 27


Emergency Legislation Creating Services for Migrants Excludes Many of DC’s Immigrant Residents from Homeless Services

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On September 20, 2022, the DC Council approved the “Migrant Services and Supports Emergency Amendment Act of 2022.” The emergency legislation creates an Office of Migrant Services to provide temporary support and services to migrants being bused from the southern border to the District by GOP governors. However, it also makes deeply problematic changes to DC homeless law that could prevent immigrants (not just recent migrants) from getting help from the District when they fall into homelessness or face a housing crisis. While the emergency legislation will be in effect for 90 days following the Mayor’s signature, the Council is also considering similar permanent legislation, and it is crucial that Councilmembers fix the problems with both bills as soon as possible. A public hearing on the permanent bill is scheduled for October 20, 2022. Read more →

Sep 16


The District Must Do Far Better than Mayor Bowser’s Migrant Services and Supports Emergency Act of 2022

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For months, the governors of Arizona and Texas have been busing migrants from the southwest border to the District to protest federal immigration policies that limit their ability to turn people away at the border. Just yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott arranged for two buses of migrants to be dropped off outside of Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in a publicity-seeking act of racism and xenophobia with callous disregard for the migrants’ human rights and dignity. Read more →

Aug 08


Making Justice Real Campaign Raises $3.3 Million for DC Legal Aid

For the third-consecutive year, DC’s legal community came together to raise more than $3 million for DC Legal Aid through the Making Justice Real Campaign, setting a new record at $3,305,388. Nearly half of the total was raised in the last week of the two-month drive, which ran from June 6 to August 5.

“It is incredibly humbling for thousands of people from nearly every major law firm in the District to unite behind Legal Aid’s mission,” said Joan McKown, President of Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees and a Partner at Jones Day. “Especially at a time of increasing need for our client community, this is unbelievably good news.” Read more →

Jul 25


DC Council Committees Must Approve the Domestic Worker Protections Bill This Fall

Legal Aid is deeply concerned about Chair Mendelson’s recent decision to change the committee referral for the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022 (Bill 24-712). As a strong supporter of the Domestic Worker Employment Rights bill, we believe his re-referral could effectively stall the bill’s progress during the final year of Council Period 24. This triple referral causes an unnecessary delay that will hurt essential workers, such as home health aides, to whom we regularly provide direct legal services. Legal Aid urges Business Committee Chairman McDuffie and Government Operations Committee Chairman Robert White to consider and mark up the measure immediately (September or October) when the Council returns from recess so that the Council can pass the bill before the end of the year. Read more →

Jun 10


DC Council Passes Landmark Debt Collection Law

The District of Columbia will soon have in place what may be the most progressive law in the nation protecting consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices.

On June 7, 2022, the DC Council passed the Protecting Consumers from Unjust Debt Collection Practices Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0357). The new law now awaits the Mayor’s signature and a congressional review period before becoming applicable on January 1, 2023. In the meantime, the Council already has put in place an emergency version of the law, which it also voted to extend at the June 7 legislative meeting. Read more →