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Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center

Organization Mission

The Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center (ILDC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immigrants with equal access to justice and due process by providing no-cost legal representation for those detained or in removal proceedings and through community education to help people understand and assert their basic civil rights.

Social Change Project:

The ILDC aims to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to represent locals who are in deportation proceedings and cannot afford an attorney. We have a waiting list of 71 people, including asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors, in need of this assistance. The attorney would also assist our volunteer attorneys.

Santa Barbara County is home to 100,000 immigrants. Of them, more than 43,000 are undocumented, and nearly 48 percent of all children in the region have one or more foreign-born parent. Approximately 1,400 local residents face deportation and potential separation from their families, often including their U.S. citizen children.

The Immigrant Legal Defense Center (ILDC) was of great help to my mother when I was placed in an Office of Refugee facility (ORR) for unaccompanied immigrant children. ILDC not only assisted with my speedy release from the ORR facility but also offered to help with my immigration case at no cost. I am a 16 year old woman and I have fled my country’s gang violence. When you reach a certain age the local gangs in El Salvador force you to join or be forced into prostitution. Unfortunately, I caught a gang leader’s attention and he insisted on pursuing me. On another occasion, my grandmother and I went to a neighboring town to clean my aunt’s house. This neighboring town is ruled by my town’s rival gang. When the gangsters of this town saw us, they noticed we weren’t from there and threatened to kill us, waving their guns in our face. I had no choice but to leave my country.

- Isabel H.