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Non-profit works to stop deportations and assists with legal aid

Keep Tucson Together is preparing for an influx in the people they help after the end of Title 42
Keep Tucson Together is a non-profit that helps people in the immigration court system with legal aid and support.
Posted at 5:53 PM, May 15, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Title 42 was lifted last week and KGUN 9 is looking into what happens after asylum seekers get their court dates.

The grassroots non-profit, Keep Tucson Together, works to stop deportations and is preparing for the chance of an influx in clients.

When someone is arrested, they’re read their Miranda Rights and are told if they cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for them.

But for people being processed in the immigration court system, the Federal Government is not required to give them one.

“We tell them that's not the case in immigration court, that if they cannot afford an attorney, you either have to do all by yourself, look for organizations, clinics that will give you a little guidance, or pay thousands of dollars to have someone represent you in court,” said Raymundo Montes, an administrator for Keep Tucson Together.

The legal aid office is filled with file upon file.

They work with organizations like Casa Alitas and Tucson’s International Committee when or if they see an increase in people needing help after the end of Title 42. 

Montes said they haven’t seen an influx yet, but they’re prepared if there is one.

“Who knows, by tomorrow there could be a giant wave that seems, and we are preparing for it,” said Montes.

Since 2011, the organization has helped thousands of people in active immigration court cases, a process that they say isn’t so black and white.

“The frustrations-- immigration law is a very- it's a grayed-out law. There's not a set stone, you can have the same case go to three different judges and all three different judges will have a different view,” said Montes.

Seeing the many ways a case could go, Montes said he hopes Congress will update immigration policies that affect the people they help.

“We always hope that Congress will get their act together and pass a more formal immigration reform or even clarify some of the laws that way we can make it easier and not be this giant gray section,” said Montes.

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Faith Abercrombie is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before coming to KGUN, Faith worked as a videographer for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation and as a reporter and producer on the youth suicide documentary, "Life is..." on Arizona PBS.
Share your story ideas with Faith by emailing faith.abercrombie@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.