The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) serves low-income adults and children in immigration proceedings. RMIAN promotes knowledge of legal rights, provides effective representation to ensure due process, works to improve detention conditions, and promotes a more humane immigration system, including alternatives to detention.
RMIAN has long acknowledged the challenges that immigrants face in immigration proceedings, including linguistic barriers, cultural differences, personal hardship, and the complexities of the immigration legal system. Since becoming an official non-profit organization in 2000, RMIAN has evolved into a well-respected organization committed to filling the due process gap by providing free legal services to clients in immigration proceedings through our programs, reaching thousands of people each year. As the only organization in Colorado with this mission, RMIAN ensures that people of diverse backgrounds are given free, high-quality immigration support. RMIAN empowers its clients and community by ensuring access to legal information and justice through its programs:
• Through the Detention Program, RMIAN provides free legal services to adults in the immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado. All newly detained individuals are given a "know-your-rights" presentation at the detention facility and have the option to speak with an attorney. Qualifying cases are then referred out to volunteer attorneys or receive further assistance from RMIAN. The Program empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their case in immigration court.
• The Children's Program provides free immigration legal services to indigent children who have suffered child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, forced labor, human trafficking, and other violent crimes. RMIAN also disseminates information on children's immigration issues to professionals in the legal service, social service, and education sectors. RMIAN staff members give presentations to juvenile justice, child welfare, and education professionals seeking to understand the legal situations of the immigrant children they serve. The Program conducts outreach at conferences and events to clarify the common myths regarding immigration law and give an overview of the grounds on which immigrant youth might obtain legal status.
• RMIAN provides mentoring and training to over 200 volunteer attorneys in the state of Colorado through the Pro Bono Lawyer Training Program each year. RMIAN's Pro Bono Lawyer Training Program continues to grow in reputation and size. The Program recruits volunteer attorneys to provide free representation to RMIAN's clients through the Children's Program and the Detention Program. RMIAN provides support to volunteer attorneys through annual continuing legal education events, smaller supplemental trainings, and ongoing mentoring. Volunteer attorneys report that their pro bono work with RMIAN positively affected their knowledge of substantive immigration law, increased their understanding of immigrants' experiences in the United States, and exceeded their expectations.
Two additional projects created by RMIAN in recent years include its Human Trafficking Project and Social Service Project. The Human Trafficking Project works to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking in Colorado and to screen potential survivors through the Children's Program and the Detention Program. The Social Service Project supports the Detention Program by providing wrap-around supportive social services to vulnerable clients in detention and by making referrals upon their release.
"RMIAN helped me obtain my residency for the United States as a student on a path for college. Being an undocumented immigrant draws an imaginary, but harsh boundary on your dreams. My dream to become a doctor - my whole life abruptly stopped my senior year in high school. RMIAN not only helped erased the boundary, but returned the hope I had lost to become a doctor. RMIAN completely changed my life."
-RMIAN Client, Children's Program
"I have loved working with RMIAN because the work that RMIAN does provides a segment of our society, that is so often forgotten or abused, hope; hope that they can become open contributing members of our society, hope that they can become self-sufficient and support their families, hope that they can come out of the shadows and realize their potential."
-Volunteer Attorney, Children's Program
"RMIAN provided me with an amazing educational experience while at the same time providing me the tools to prevent a young man from being deported from the United States of America. Knowing that I have helped provide this young man a second chance to prove to himself, his family and society that he can be a valuable member of this community is the greatest feeling of accomplishment that I could have. This feeling is priceless. I also believe that this young man and his family will grow stronger in their relationships with each other each day. Because of RMIAN, I have been afforded the opportunity to help not just one man, but an entire family. Without RMIAN, this family could have been separated forever."
-Volunteer Attorney, Detention Program
"Over all, I was very touched and affected by the men waiting to go before the Judge without help or representation. I felt their anxiety and fear, and I thought of the families that they will leave behind if deported. I know it sounds silly after just one hearing, but I have been wondering about what kind of law I would like to practice for a long time, but I think I have finally found a place where I feel very happy and comfortable. I hope I can help with more cases in the future. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity."
-Volunteer Attorney, Detention Program
"RMIAN helped me at a time when my life was in pieces, when I was at my lowest, in an immigration detention center. They gave me hope the day I was released from the detention center and I was able to see my children and family after two long months- that was truly the happiest day in my life. By helping me become a legal permanent resident in the United States, RMIAN gave me a sense of belonging and security. I now have restored faith in myself and have been able to do more and go further than what I initially believed."
-RMIAN Client, Detention Program
"I just finished off my first semester in Boulder and I can't thank you and RMIAN enough for all that has been done. This organization has helped me get one step closer (an enormous step) towards achieving my short and long-term goals in life. It has also helped me open the doors to college because I have financial support from the government. I still remember that day when I received a letter from USCIS stating that I had been approved for permanent residency; it is definitely one of my favorite moments. This chapter in my life would not have been written if it weren't for RMIAN and I am truly blessed to have been able to meet people who are as dedicated and as helpful as RMIAN. It just goes to show that when the chips are down keep your head up because there is always hope. Thank you again and again!"
-RMIAN Client, Children's Program