La Union del Pueblo Entero has hired an attorney to help with legal representation in addition to the community organizing the group engages in, according to a news release.
The local immigrant advocacy organization, known as LUPE, hired Eugene Delgado more than a month ago as its legal counsel, and will help community members who may have legal issues related to their immigration status in what’s being called a deportation defense team.
Delgado, who was born in Fresno, California and raised in McAllen, left the Rio Grande Valley in the mid-1990s to pursue his career in law, attending Boston University School of Law, according to LUPE’s website.
“…I have always been passionate about assisting Latinos in their search for justice, including representing thousands of workers from Mexico and Central America for unpaid wages,” Delgado said in the release. “I am now focused on representing immigrants in deportation proceedings and look forward to helping the community of the Rio Grande Valley.”
The move to hire its own attorney, with more attorneys and legal assistants being sought to add to the legal team, comes at a time of a heightened sense of immigration crackdowns by the current administration across the country, and very publicly in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border with the separation of children from their families.
“La Unión del Pueblo Entero is expanding its ability to defend against family separations through the addition of representation in deportation proceedings,” the release states. “LUPE has added an immigration attorney to its team of immigration experts and is searching for an additional attorney and legal assistants.”
John-Michael Torres, a LUPE spokesman, said adding legal representation in-house will allow the organization to couple its community organizing efforts, with the legal counsel element to better provide immigration services to community members seeking such help.
Juanita Valdez-Cox, LUPE executive director, echoed Torres’ sentiments, saying the additional resources will help those in need of immigration related legal services.
“LUPE works to protect family unity against deportations through legal aid, community organizing and community partnerships,” Valdez-Cox said in a prepared statement. “Defense of family unity has been central to our mission for many years. Until now, we’ve done that through offering legal services to help our undocumented members gain legal status when eligible.
“Now, we are happy to announce that we have a new resource for assistance for representation in removal proceedings including in hearings in front of an immigration judge.”
Torres said as of now, there are two ways someone may be referred for legal counsel; which is determined with the help of LUPE social workers or staff members, who refer cases to legal counsel, or if the persons ask for additional legal services based on their circumstances.
LUPE officials urge anyone in danger of deportation to visit its office for a legal consultation.
Delgado was most recently on hand at a LUPE event on the deadline date for the reunification of children who were separated by the administration from their families.
Delgado is not expected to be the only member of the deportation defense team, as LUPE officials continue to solicit for an additional immigration attorney and legal aides, according to the release.
Those interested in joining the deportation defense team at LUPE may apply on the group’s website.