Archives

Written by Adam Jacobs

Dec 10

2018

Legal Aid Submits Comments Strongly Opposing Proposed “Public Charge” Rule

Today, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stating our strong opposition to proposed regulations governing the “public charge determination” for immigrants and their families. The proposed rule would treat receipt of essential public benefits (such as Medicaid, SNAP and Section 8 housing subsidies), low income, poor health, being young or elderly and lack of English proficiency (among other factors) as negative factors in assessing an immigrant’s application for lawful permanent resident status.
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Dec 05

2018

Snap Challenge: Reflections From Week 1

Last week I started a two-week SNAP Challenge which entails eating on the amount of food stamps benefits a SNAP recipient would receive: $4.40 per day.

With Week 1 completed, I wanted to share some of my reflections on the experience so far. Below are some of my biggest takeaways from Week 1 and my daily SNAP journal: Read more →

Oct 29

2018

Domestic Violence Awareness: The Effects of Financial Abuse

Every October, people wear purple to increase awareness about the prevalence of domestic violence and show solidarity with survivors. Domestic Violence Awareness Month increases education about the prevalence of domestic violence, common indicators of abusive relationships, and resources for survivors of domestic violence. While many people are familiar with the controlling patterns of physical and emotional abuse associated with domestic violence, you may be surprised to learn that 99% of victims of domestic violence experience financial abuse. Read more →

Oct 22

2018

DC Housing Right to Counsel Project Thanks and Honors Volunteers

A DC resident living in the Columbia Heights neighborhood was worried about the eviction case pending against her. But her pro bono attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment and promptly got the landlord to dismiss the suit. The tenant later noted, “It’s important to have a lawyer with you because the landlords have lawyers. There are things about the legal system I just don’t know.” Read more →

Oct 10

2018

Legal Aid Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In the opening days of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year, the Nation has watched closely as the Senate was presented with allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accusing recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Whatever one’s political persuasion, the public discourse surrounding these allegations carries monumental consequences for the future of the Supreme Court. However for those of us representing domestic violence survivors, the handling of Dr. Ford’s allegations – especially the recent rhetoric deriding Dr. Ford’s memory gaps and hesitancy in reporting the assault to law enforcement – presents a critical moment in and of itself. We fear that this type of rhetoric will have the real-word impact of chilling survivors from coming forward, empowering abusers, and perpetuating a pattern of violence in many homes and families. Read more →

Sep 24

2018

Proposed “Public Charge” Rules Harm Immigrant Families

This past weekend, the Trump Administration expanded its attack on immigrant communities by threatening access to basic safety net programs including food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid and Section 8 Housing Vouchers. In a draft posted on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, the Trump Administration proposes to change the rules governing “public charge,” which determine how receipt of public benefits might impact an individual or family’s admissibility to the United States or ability to become a lawful permanent resident. The Administration’s purported rationale for this proposed rule change is to “promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that [immigrants] are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.” Legal Aid joins hundreds of legal services and civil rights organizations throughout the country in opposing these draconian changes that not only target will harm the most vulnerable individuals and families in our communities but also harm society as a whole – especially socially and economically. Read more →

Sep 21

2018

Protections Secured for DC Government Employees

Earlier this month, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case that provides an important clarification for District employees. The opinion makes clear that the District cannot fire an employee, thereby economically forcing the employee to start receiving payments from his retirement annuity, and then assert that the receipt of those payments prevents the employee from challenging the firing. Read more →

Aug 28

2018

Federal Court Permits Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Unlawful Food Stamps Processing Delays To Proceed

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied, in large part, a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the DC Department of Human Services (DHS). The lawsuit, Garnett et. al v. Zeilinger, filed by Legal Aid, NCLEJ, and Hogan Lovells on behalf of a group of DC residents and Bread for the City in August 2017, alleges that the District fails to timely process applications and recertifications for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. The unlawful delays in processing applications have often resulted in low-income residents being left unable to afford the food they need. Read more →

Aug 02

2018

Generous Associates Campaign Shatters Record, Raises $2.15 Million for Legal Aid

Back in May when we sat down with our Co-Chairs to set the goal for this year’s Campaign, and we decided on a cool $2 million, we did it with the understanding that it was ambitious, and that we were comfortable with the possibility that we were misjudging how much we could raise. Well, we did misjudge it:

Friends, you have gone beyond our wildest expectations and raised $2.150 million for Legal Aid!!! Read more →

Jul 25

2018

New York Enacts Provision Akin to DC’s Custodial Power of Attorney Statute

While the separation of undocumented immigrant parents from their children at the border has received significant media attention, those same immigrant families are still at risk once they settle in the U.S. Families continue to live in fear of deportation and separation. Significantly, the District and several states have legal mechanisms to allow undocumented parents to appoint caregivers and avoid detention or foster care for their children, in case of an emergency separation.

Beginning June 27, 2018, New York now has a process that allows parents at risk of immigration enforcement to plan for the safety of their children by choosing caregivers in the event of the parent’s detention or deportation. Read more →