Questions About AI Justice

What makes AI Justice unique?


Our real-world, real-people experiences form the basis of our national advocacy, which is a rare model among advocacy organizations. Our direct legal services work provides a unique vantage point from which to observe how our immigration system impacts people and communities. We have real, first-hand evidence that goes into our reports, into Congressional testimony, and into all avenues of our advocacy and educational work.

In addition, AI Justice is based in Miami, Florida. Florida is a bellwether state and national testing ground for immigration policies. It was at the forefront in enacting post-9/11 anti-immigration measures, the first state to deputize police as immigration officers, and among the states where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) first implemented its Secure Communities' program, through which biometric data of all persons arrested in the county is passed on to ICE, which runs the data through its databases and issues "detainers" for persons it wishes to take into custody. Detainers routinely are issued prior to resolution of any criminal charges.

The nation’s fourth largest state, Florida mirrors U.S. demographics except that it has higher proportions of immigrants and elderly residents, which reflects what the demographics of the country will be in the coming decades. Our Miami base places us in a prime position to analyze trends and concerns in the immigration arena.

With so much need in this community, why should I choose to support AI Justice?


AI Justice serves deserving immigrants who have nowhere else to turn for help, including: traumatized children alone in this country, people trafficked into slavery, asylum seekers who face persecution in their homelands, and other vulnerable immigrants who cannot afford an attorney. For many of our clients, our help means the difference between life and death, the difference between being raised by their parents or being torn from them, the difference between being able to work and being penniless. Keeping families together and providing an opportunity for people to live and work legally creates a safer, more prosperous, and more just community for everyone.

Why does AI Justice advocate for comprehensive immigration reform?


America’s broken immigration system hurts everyone in this country, not just immigrants. Keeping 11 million immigrants in the shadows, where they live in fear of deportation, is neither sustainable nor constructive. AI Justice promotes sensible reforms at the federal level, including a path to legalization for deserving immigrants. Such reforms would boost our nation’s economy and security while promoting the basic rights of all immigrants.

What does AI Justice think are the most important issues to be addressed in immigration reform?


AI Justice focuses its advocacy on the issues that concern the vulnerable populations we serve. In the current debate on immigration reform, we have emphasized the need for humane treatment of immigrants apprehended at the border and placed in holding cells, working with Senate and House members on legislation setting detention standards that uphold basic human rights standards.

We have played an active role in legislation on Violence Against Women, and our Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Program is part of a larger national movement that advocates for protections in immigration reform efforts for immigrant women who are survivors of trafficking or domestic violence.

The right to government-provided counsel in immigration proceedings for immigrant children who are otherwise forced to navigate the legal system alone is a key issue for us. We provide representation to hundreds of children in the South Florida immigration shelters each year. Without an attorney, children who have a valid claim to remain in the U.S. have only a 1% chance of prevailing. (Byrne, Olga & Miller, Elise, The Flow of Unaccompanied Children Through the Immigration System, New York: Vera Institute of Justice, 2012.) We advocate for government-provided counsel for these children, so that children in areas where there is no legal services organization like AI Justice can have access to justice.

Is AI Justice a political organization?


No. AI Justice is a non-profit law firm that also engages in advocacy and education on immigration issues. Our supporters have diverse political beliefs and can be found all over the political spectrum, but they all find common ground on which to stand with AI Justice on the side of access to justice and sane, sensible immigration laws for everyone.

Both our Board of Directors and Honorary Board include members who are well known in Republican and Democratic, conservative and liberal, circles. Al Cardenas, Chair of the American Conservative Union and former Head of the Republican Party of Florida, and the Honorable Bob Graham, former Democratic U.S. Senator and Governor of Florida, both serve on our Honorary Board.

How can you say that you uphold the American Dream?


America was built on the dreams of immigrants. We uphold the American Dream by fighting for what it stands for: justice, human rights, and honoring the contributions of our immigrant populations. We fight for those whose fundamental rights have been abused. We fight to prevent the deportation of persons entitled to legal status under our current laws. And we fight for more just laws, in keeping with the core principles that provide the foundation for our democracy and way of life.

Do you believe in open borders?


No.  We believe that the U.S. Government has the right and responsibility to enforce immigration laws. But we also believe that, regardless of their legal status, America’s immigrants deserve the basic human rights and due process that are core American values.

Why do you help people who have not waited in line to immigrate to this country?


The truth is that there is no line for most undocumented immigrants and the "regular channels" do not include them. Approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. each year – most coming to work and typically to do so in the service sector – yet there are only 5,000 green cards for unskilled workers. Until there are more legal avenues for employers to hire immigrant workers, undocumented immigrants will fill the gap and we will not gain the control over immigration that the American people demand.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called in 2013 for Congress to "create workable temporary worker programs that allow employers to hire immigrants for jobs in the U.S. in accordance with the demands of the economy," emphasizing that such programs "will promote job and economic growth – along with reducing the pressure of illegal migration."

Moreover, our current family visa system is woefully out of date. Countless immigrants who have already been approved for visas to join their U.S. families are forced to wait years (often more than ten) in order to come to the U.S. because of the current quota system and tremendous backlogs.

Do you help people just because they are immigrants?


AI Justice carefully screens our clients. We don’t take a case unless we believe the person is eligible for immigration relief and/or their human rights have been violated. In many cases, we obtain legal status for clients who were initially denied relief.

3000 Biscayne Blvd, Suite 400
Miami, FL 33137
T 305-573-1106
F 305-576-6273

10 G Street NE.
Suite 710
Washington, DC 20002
T 202-248-5080

About Us:

AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.