Collaboration and innovation among advocates is crucial to advancing immigrant & refugee justice. Yet advocates’ efforts are significantly impeded by the sprawling and fragmented nature of the immigration detention and deportation regime. Detention centers are notoriously difficult to access, and many are located in remote sites hours from the nearest major city. Organizations seeking to support individuals released from detention face challenges connecting with potential clients, who may not always be aware of local resources in their new communities. Judges in different courtrooms impose their own extralegal rules on proceedings, making sharing resources between jurisdictions difficult.
Advocates’ efforts are also frustrated by the volatile nature of the immigration space. Changing executive policies require organizations to constantly adapt and rework their services. Immigration raids can destabilize entire communities overnight, requiring immediate reorientation of organizations’ resources. The urgent need to triage individual cases prevents many practitioners from engaging in litigation and organizing for systemic reform. Because of these challenges, collaboration and innovation are impeded, and advocates are unable to take a holistic, interconnected approach to fighting mass deportation, incarceration, and exclusion.
Innovation Law Lab’s Clearinghouse projects rely on a novel legal framework, called the Rights Architecture, that is designed to foster innovation, identify gaps in service, and encourage cross-discipline collaboration in order to advance immigrant & refugee justice. It enables organizations to work holistically on addressing the root causes of isolation and exploitation of immigrant and refugee communities and supports collective action to create communities where everyone belongs.