A humanitarian crisis in a secret detention center

In 2014, children and women fled from the violence in Central America as the rule of law in those countries collapsed. Murders committed by third-generation gangs, such as the MS-13 and M-18, soared, and violence against women continued in epidemic proportions. The choice for the children and women was to die or flee. They chose to live and came to the United States to seek asylum but were locked up in a secret detention center designed for rapid deportation without due process.

A small team of lawyers in Portland, Oregon convened a group of activists, software coders and graphic designers and charged them with answering this challenge: how can we leverage technology and activist-organizing theories to stop the illegal removals and support constitutional principles of due process? What can we do here to help the lawyers there? Can we create new technology that will harness and focus the legal power of hundreds of lawyers to solve this crisis?

Innovation Law Lab was founded to harness the power of technology, law, and activism all in a single organization to end the mass incarceration of children and mothers in secret jails and inhumane conditions. Innovation Law Lab leverages the work of coders, lawyers, and activists in order to end isolation and exploitation of immigrants and refugees, build permanent pathways to immigrant inclusion, and advance justice.

Since its founding, Innovation Law Lab’s work has advanced the cause of justice. Based in Portland, Oregon, Law Lab has team members in Georgia, California, Texas, Missouri, Washington, Florida, Illinois, and Mexico.