A small crowd gathered Thursday night at the Wenatchee Community Center to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
Jorge Barón, the executive director, said it is the only organization that does comprehensive legal services for immigrants in this state, protecting safety, helping families and giving individuals an opportunity to succeed in this country.
Right now, they are handling 285 cases with a backlog of 137 that are pending. BarÓn said they don't have the financial capacity to hire more attorneys at the present time. The Immigrant Rights Project has offices in Grandview, Wenatchee, Tacoma and Seattle.
Members of the local office talked about the compelling stories of helping people through the tangle of legal issues. Sometimes those are navigating domestic violence situations. At other times, they represent clients who may be deported.
Undocumented laborers in our fields and orchards is a reality and without immigration reform, these folks living in the shadows can be victimized.
Barón said the challenges can seem overwhelming in these cases, but getting involved "who knows how far that's going to go" in terms of impacting others.
Regardless of their legal status, individuals caught in the tangle of our crazy immigration system are human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity.