Disrupting Current Systems with Legal Representation
The current legal system does not provide equitable access to justice and oppresses and excludes low-income communities of color. We know that only systemic and institutional change will yield long term results and work with our partners to advocate for it. But in the meantime, our community continues to suffer the system's harms. We work to minimize the continuing harm by providing quality, free civil legal services to low income, non-detained immigrants in Maricopa County to bend the current systems in our favor.
There is no free public defender system in immigration court or other civil courts. Traditional civil legal services often leave out undocumented immigrants because federal Legal Services Corporation funding generally cannot be used to represent undocumented immigrants except in limited circumstances for survivors of certain criminal activity and human trafficking.
PLAN fills this gap by providing free civil legal representation to low-income, non-detained immigrants. Currently, we only provide free representation in immigration matters with a focus on removal proceedings with the Phoenix Immigration Court, but in the future we hope to expand to provide additional civil legal representation (housing, benefits, etc) and to support immigrants throughout the state of Arizona.
A New Chapter for Deybeth
Deybeth grew up in Mexico feeling different because he didn’t like to put bows in his hair or wear dresses. He was constantly harassed and abused for being a “lesbian.” One day, Deybeth found his dog shaved and killed. A note was left behind warning that he would be next. Fearing for his life, Deybeth fled to the United States and has lived in Phoenix since 2005.
In 2017, Deybeth joined TQP, and with their support, he came out as a transgender man. Deybeth married his longtime partner and connected with PLAN for legal support. Over time, PLAN was able to build a trusting relationship with Deybeth and learn more about his story. PLAN obtained an expert mental health evaluation that explained the ongoing psychological trauma that he suffered, and used it to help present legal arguments and reasons for Deybeth’s delay in filing for asylum. With PLAN’s legal support, Deybeth and his wife were granted asylum.