When an immigration raid happens in Nebraska, ILC staff responds immediately. The most recent event was October 23 when more than a dozen individuals were picked up in a raid by Homeland Security at a Madison, Nebraska business. ILC’s Rapid Response Plan kicked into gear as multiple staff implemented their roles to confirm facts and obtain information as fast as possible to provide legal consultations to the individuals who are detained.
The first few hours were spent checking and confirming facts about what happened and who was involved. Detainees were identified, materials were gathered, and ILC Attorneys Nancy Cardoza and Roxana Cortez went to the Douglas County Detention Center to provide consultations to the detainees who requested legal services. They worked with the Mexican Consulate, which also helped some of the detainees connect with attorneys. As a nonprofit legal firm, ILC can offer consultations to immigrants whose cannot afford a private attorney because of their low incomes. But immigrants being represented by a lawyer who specializes in immigration law increases the quality of the immigrant’s defense significantly with life-changing and sometimes life-saving results.
For two days, the communications staff took non-stop calls from local and national media for information and interviews. Policy Attorney Alexis Steele provided legal interpretation so we could post social media information and promote our Pro Bono Detainee Project and related information for the Madison families.
Centro Hispano in Columbus, where our office is located, is our partner who began working in the Madison community. They helped the families complete our Pro Bono Detainee Project forms. They are still taking donations of food, water and money to help the families who lost their primary wage earner in the raid.
The media interest has died down, but the legal response to ensure that the detainees are represented properly continues. We are pleased that the legal and communications rapid response procedures we developed after last year’s immigration raid in O’Neill, Nebraska, allowed us to jump into action quickly.