The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free legal representation in Texas to people needing immigration law assistance. In 2017, RAICES claims to have closed 51,000 pro-bono immigration and refugee status cases. In its 2016 federal tax filings RAICES reported total revenue of $7 million, but an online fundraising effort during the summer of 2018 claims to have raised more than $20 million from 500,000 individual donors.
RAICES is one of the four organizations jointly involved in the CARA Family Detention Project, an initiative that organizes pro-bono legal services for families that have entered the United States without permission and are seeking asylum.
The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is the successor to the Refugee Aid Project, created in 1986 by South Texas participants in the Sanctuary Movement. Sanctuary Movement was a network of U.S. churches that helped citizens of Guatemala and El Salvador enter the United States without authorization in the 1980s. In 1985, the year before the founding of the Refugee Aid Project, two Sanctuary Movement members from South Texas, including the director of a border town shelter sponsored by the local diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, were convicted in federal court of conspiracy for their role in transporting Salvadorans who were in the country illegally.
As of 2018, RAICES has a staff of 130 in six Texas cities providing free immigration law assistance, advocacy, and other aid. For 2017 RAICES claims to have closed 51,000 pro-bono immigration and refugee status cases. In its 2016 federal tax filings RAICES reported total revenue of $7 million, but an online fundraising effort during the summer of 2018 raised more than $20 million from 500,000 individual donors. RAICES has grown considerably in recent years: Its 2011 federal tax filings reported total revenue of just over $480,000, with expenses of nearly $675,000 and a deficit of almost $195,000.
CARA Family Detention Project (CARA)
Also see CARA Family Detention Project (Nonprofit)
The CARA Family Detention Project is an initiative that organizes pro-bono legal services for families that have entered the United States without permission and are seeking asylum. It is jointly operated by RAICES, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Immigration Council (AIC), and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLIN). “CARA” is an acronym representing the first letter of the names of the four participating organizations.
The other three CARA organizations receive significant funding from (or otherwise have financial associations with) the Foundation to Promote Open Society and other large foundations with a history of giving six-figure annual donations to left-learning organizations.
CARA was created in response to the 2014 decision by the Obama administration to create detention facilities to house families and other residents of Central America who were entering the United States without permission and seeking asylum. Its activity and the funding of its participating members has increased substantially since the election of President Donald Trump and the continued flow of asylum seekers entering the United States. The Ford Foundation website shows its annual giving to AIC increased from $180,000 in 2015, to $450,000 for 2017, the latest year for which the website provided records.
Criticism of Trump Administration
RAICES signed a letter condemning the immigration policy of the Trump Administration and urging American CEOs not to employ anyone involved with the policy. It accused these officials of being directly guilty for physical abuse, sexual assault, and even the death of illegal immigrant children. The letter was titled “An Open Letter to America’s CEOs” and was dated April 6, 2019.