Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services
Founded1987; 36 years ago (1987)[1]
FounderJack Elder
Stacey Merkt[2][3]
Legal status501(c)(3) Non-profit organization
Purposeproviding immigration-related legal services, advocacy and opportunities for educational and social support
Area served
South Texas
Executive Director
Jonathan Ryan[5]
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)4,172,493[6]

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a nonprofit organization based in Texas that aims to provide legal services for immigrants.[7] As of 2018, it was the largest legal aid group of its kind in Texas.[8] RAICES also runs Casa RAICES, which provides housing for thousands of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers per year.[9]


RAICES was founded in 1987 (sometimes listed as 1986) to help Central American refugees in the United States.[1][10][11]

In January 2016, RAICES' Executive Director, Jonathan Ryan, was part of a lawsuit filed against the state of Texas over House Bill 11, a law that made it a state felony to harbor undocumented immigrants.[12] The lawsuit, which was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on behalf of Ryan and two San Antonio landlords, alleged that the state was violating due process rights and circumventing federal authority over immigration policy. The law was temporarily paused due to an injunction issued by a federal judge, but in February 2017, a federal appeals panel ruled that the state could continue to enforce HB 11.[13]

Viral 2018 fundraiser[edit]

In June 2018, publicity regarding the Trump administration's family separation policy led to the creation of an Internet campaign to collect funds for RAICES.[14][15][16] A Facebook user in California created a fundraiser for RAICES called "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child". As of June 20, 2018, the fundraiser had raised $12 million for RAICES and was one of the largest in Facebook's history.[17] The fundraiser was created in response to a "zero tolerance" immigration policy implemented in April 2018 by United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions,[18] which requires United States Border Patrol agents to detain all adult immigrants suspected of crossing the border illegally.[19] From early May to mid June 2018, over 2,300 children were separated from their parents as a result of the zero tolerance policy.[20]

National hotline[edit]

In June 2018 RAICES launched a "National Families Together Hotline" to assist family members who had been separated by current US immigration policy, to locate and reconnect with one another.[21][22]


  1. ^ a b c "RAICES Jobs". RAICES. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "Sanctuary Workers Guilty of Assisting Illegal Aliens". Los Angeles Times. 1985. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  3. ^ "New Friends". Twitter. Twitter, Inc. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "REFUGEE & IMMIGRANT CENTER FOR EDUCATION & LEGAL SERVICES". GuideStar. GuideStar USA. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Jacobs, Julia (June 19, 2018). "They Wanted to Raise $1,500 for Immigrant Families at the Border. They Got Over $10 Million". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "REFUGEE & IMMIGRANT CENTER FOR EDUCATION & LEGAL SERVICES". ProPublica. Pro Publica Inc. May 9, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Martinez, Sarah. "55 Undocumented Immigrants Found in Trailer in San Antonio, Sent to Detention Center". San Antonio Current. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  8. ^ ""Suspiciously little" done to inform undocumented families of their rights, legal advocate says". Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Casa RAICES isn't going away, it's expanding". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Heinzekehr, Hannah (February 14, 2016). "San Antonio Mennonites join interfaith immigrant hospitality networks". TheMennonite. The Mennonite. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Who is RAICES? (video). raicestexas. March 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Tribune, The Texas (January 25, 2016). "Texas Faces Lawsuit Over Provision of Border Law". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Stempel, Jonathan. "U.S. appeals court revives Texas immigrant-harboring law". U.S. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Salmon, Felix. "Why Even Viral-Fundraising Skeptics Can Feel Good About Donating to RAICES". Slate Magazine. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  15. ^ Lyons, Kate (June 20, 2018). "Facebook campaign to help separated children seeks $1,500 but gets $7.5m". the Guardian. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  16. ^ Jackson, Amanda. "$4,000 a minute pours in to help reunite separated immigrant families". CNN. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  17. ^ Wiener, Talia (June 20, 2018). "Facebook Fundraiser For Separated Immigrant Families Raises $12 Million In 5 Days". npr. npr. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  18. ^ Rizzo, Salvador (June 19, 2018). "Analysis | The facts about Trump's policy of separating families at the border". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Jeff Sessions: Parents and Children Illegally Crossing the Border Will Be Separated". Time. May 7, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  20. ^ Domonoske, Camila; Gonzales, Richard (June 19, 2018). "What We Know: Family Separation And 'Zero Tolerance' At The Border". npr. npr. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Raices Familias Unidas, Linea Directa Raices of Texas. June 29, 2018. Downloaded August 14, 2018.
  22. ^ RAICES' "National Families Together" Hotline Plans To Help Reunite Immigrant Kids & Their Parents By Seth Millstein. June, 2018. Downloaded August 14, 2018.

External links[edit]