CREECblog

CREEC’s IDAP Director Quoted in Westword re: Aurora’s Immigration Detention Facility’s Expansion

Excellent article from Westword about Aurora’s Immigration Detention Facility’s sudden expansion.

CREEC’s own IDAP Director, Liz Jordan, weighs in:

“In June, ICE started moving hundreds of its detainees to federal prisons across the country because the government lacked enough space in its immigration detention center, according to an NPR reportIn a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Jordan’s organization in August 2018, lawyers representing plaintiffs in a prison in California argued that conditions there were deplorable.

“As a result of the unconstitutional treatment of these civil detainees, many have expressed a desire to be returned, immediately, to their countries of origin — foregoing their claims for immigration relief altogether — because they would rather face the dangers back home than be imprisoned in these abysmal conditions,” part of the complaint reads. As of October 2018, ICE had largely stopped using federal prisons to house detainees, according to NPR.

Jordan is worried that something similar could happen at the recently opened annex in Aurora. “We are concerned that the facilities are unprepared for this influx [of new detainees], which could result in really horrifying conditions for people that have to sit in these wings while they get up and running.” Jordan says it is unclear whether the facility will add staff to manage the additional detainees.”

Click here to read the whole article.

CREEC is looking to hire a Development Director!

Help us create our development program!  Play with the office dogs!

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) is seeking an accomplished fundraising professional to be our Development Director.  This is an exciting opportunity to build a fundraising program from the ground up alongside an enthusiastic and successful team of civil rights lawyers and advocates. Join our team and help promote CREEC’s mission to ensure that everyone can fully and independently participate in our nation’s civic life without discrimination.

CREEC pursues our mission through education and individual and class action lawsuits. We represent individuals on a range of civil rights issues, but focus on the rights of people with disabilities and on the rights of people detained in immigration detention centers and prisons. Our cases in these areas include a class action against ICE challenging its decision to confine immigration detainees in a federal prison, multiple class actions challenging conditions of confinement in prisons, and individual and class actions on behalf of deaf persons. CREEC and its attorneys have been recognized with numerous awards for our work.

More information on the organization and our cases can be found on our website, www.creeclaw.org.  

CREEC was founded in 2013 and has engaged in rudimentary fundraising efforts, primarily consisting of an annual event and an end-of-year email pitch. We are seeking someone to help us build and expand on these efforts.

We believe that the clients we represent, our mission, our work, and our accomplishments provide a compelling narrative for development efforts. We are excellent attorneys and advocates, but novices when it comes to development. This is where you come in.

The right person for this position shares our passion for civil rights, and is excited at the opportunity to build a development program from its current base.

Our Development Director will:

  • Cultivate and steward our current donor base.  
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward new donors with a focus on developing a leadership ($25K+) giving program.   
  • Manage (with administrative support) the annual event and other smaller events throughout the year.
  • Learn, manage, and exploit all the useful features of our fundraising/donor tracking software.
  • Manage (with administrative support) CREEC’s social media presence and email outreach.  
  • Develop short- and long-term development goals, including timelines and budgets, assessing areas for growth and providing leadership in the launch of new initiatives.
  • Work with the co-founders/Co-Executive Directors on strategic planning for this growing nonprofit.   

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least five years of development experience, preferably at the directorship level.  
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
  • Strategic thinking and experience creating or growing a development program.
  • Proven track record of achieving revenue targets of over $250,000 annually.
  • Proven track record of relationship building and experience soliciting gifts of $25K+

Compensation:  $75,000 and benefits package.

Location: Denver, CO

CREEC is an equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce and promotes an inclusive culture. CREEC encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.

How to apply:  

Email a cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample to resumes@creeclaw.org.  Please include the words “Development Director Application” in the subject line, and include your last name in the filename of any attachment (“LastName Resume.pdf”).

 

Welcome to our Spring 2019 externs!

CREEC is thrilled to be joined by three excellent externs this spring.*

Allison Crennen-Dunlap is a Chancellor Scholar and J.D. candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She has worked as a student attorney with the Sturm College of Law’s Immigration Law & Policy Clinic and completed legal internships with various organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network and the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center. She earned her M.A. at the Pennsylvania State University, where she was a McCourtney Distinguished Graduate Fellow, and graduated with her B.A. from Georgetown University. In her free time, Allison enjoys exploring new places and strolling through Denver’s parks with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

Alison “Ali” Sheets is in her final year at Denver Law. Ali is also a Chancellor Scholar at Denver Law, which is based on both public interest work and merits. While in school, Ali has worked on a variety of issues, including immigration, asylum, crimmigration, death penalty and international law. She regularly volunteers with an immigration non-profit in El Paso, Texas. Ali is simultaneously pursuing a Masters in International Human Rights at the Korbel School of International Studies, where she focuses on human trafficking and is a Research Assistant in the Human Trafficking Clinic. In her free time, Ali enjoys hiking, trivia, and spending time with her dog.

Jean Peterson is CREEC’s paralegal-turned-extern. She is a 2L at the Denver Law. Jean graduated from the American University with a B.A. in International Studies. Following her legal interests instead of her degree, Jean worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in D.C. in their Securities and Financial Fraud Unit. She joined CREEC as a paralegal in 2016 and has been juggling her work here with her legal studies since 2017. Jean is using extern opportunity to hone her increasing legal knowledge to be a better advocate and asset to CREEC. When she can find a sliver of free time she likes to hike, ski, ride, play with her dog, and read.

 

* It’s snowing here in Denver but the semester is called “spring” so we’ll just go with it.

CREEC Announces Immigration Detention Accountability Project

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center is pleased to announce the launch of the CREEC Immigration Detention Accountability Project and the appointment of Elizabeth Jordan as Director of the Project.

The Immigration Detention Accountability Project will focus on three major areas:

  • Impact litigation challenging the conditions of confinement in immigration detention centers;
  • Impact litigation challenging discrimination against detained immigrants with disabilities; and
  • Education and outreach on detention conditions and treatment of immigrants with disabilities.
The Project will also provide pro bono direct representation of detained immigrants — in immigration and federal court — in support of these three goals.

 

Liz Jordan joined CREEC as our first CREEC Fellow in June, 2017, proposing a project to challenge conditions in immigration Image: Woman with glasses and curly hair smilingdetention facilities.  Since that time, Liz and other CREEC lawyers and paralegals:

Image: GEO Detention Center in Aurora

Based on the success of Liz’s fellowship project, we decided to create a permanent Immigration Detention Accountability Project.

The Project joins — and complements — CREEC’s ongoing education and litigation projects challenging discrimination in government, prisons and jails, public accommodations, housing, and other arenas.

 
 
 
 
The Project’s website can be found by clicking here, please check up on that site for Project and case related updates in the future.

Frederick Couple Files Suit Challenging Developer’s Refusal to Accommodate Wheelchair in Unbuilt Home Plan

Family alleges refusal violated the Fair Housing Act.

DENVER, August 6, 2018 – Nina and Robert Lindstrom had been planning for years to move from Alabama to Colorado to be closer to Nina’s daughter and their grandchildren. While preparing for the move, however, Nina Lindstrom fell and injured her spine. She now cannot walk and uses a power wheelchair for mobility.

After the accident and months of intense rehabilitation, the Lindstroms were finally able to move to Colorado. Their house hunting process led them to the Autumn Valley Ranch community in Dacono developed by Century Communities, Inc. (“CCI”). Autumn Valley Ranch was ideal both because it was near family and because construction on the homes had not yet commenced, giving the Lindstroms — or so they thought — the opportunity to adjust the floorplan to be accessible to Ms. Lindstrom.

When they initially met with a CCI sales representative and explained the modest adjustments they’d need — wider doors; level entrances — he appeared willing to implement the requested changes. (Though not obligated to do so, the Lindstroms offered to pay any difference in construction costs.) The following day, however, the CCI representative informed the Lindstroms’ Realtor that he had checked with CCI’s Vice President of Construction and Division President, and CCI would not be willing to make any accommodations in the floorplan.

To be clear, at the point when CCI refused to make the Lindstroms’ accommodations, the “home” consisted of a patch of dirt and some drawings.

The Lindstroms continued their home search, eventually purchasing an existing house that required extensive renovations before Ms. Lindstrom could use it, and that remains less than fully accessible.

“The Fair Housing Act requires reasonable accommodations. Because construction had not started, the modest adjustments the Lindstroms requested were eminently reasonable,” said Amy Robertson, Co-Executive Director of Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and counsel for the Lindstroms. “This scenario is shockingly common: for some reason, developers do not understand that unbuilt homes are subject to the reasonable accommodation requirement of the Fair Housing Act.”

“We were very distressed that CCI would not make simple adjustments to let us live in the Autumn Valley Ranch community,” said Nina Lindstrom. “We hope our lawsuit will help educate new home builders so other disabled homeseekers do not have to go through this.”

CREEC and other Civil Rights Groups Sue President Trump and ICE for Jailing Immigrants in Inhumane, Unconstitutional Conditions in Federal Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2018

CONTACT:
ACLU Media, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org
Margot Mendelson, Prison Law Office, 510-280-2621, mmendelson@prisonlaw.com
Tim Fox, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, 303-916-8794, tfox@creeclaw.org

LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union, Prison Law Office, and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center filed a lawsuit today against President Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating the constitutional rights of immigrants detained at FCI Victorville, a federal prison in Victorville, California.

In early June, ICE began transferring immigrants from ICE and Customs and Border Protection facilities to prisons operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), through an agreement that sanctions the detention of 1,600 people in BOP facilities in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Texas. Many of those imprisoned are asylum seekers. Some have been separated from their children.

“Like the Trump administration’s family separation and zero tolerance policies, these detention transfers were done hastily and with no regard for the lives of the people who are detained,” said Victoria Lopez, senior staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project. “Confining immigrants in these conditions is unconscionable and unconstitutional. We will do everything in our power to make sure these men have adequate food and medical care, and are able to freely exercise their faiths.”

Security and health care staff at the prison have protested that it is ill-equipped to handle this influx of detainees. Several housing units at the prison that were previously closed due to understaffing reopened in June for the purpose of detaining immigrants, and staffing remains deficient. Detained immigrants describe conditions at the prison as dangerous and chaotic. Attorneys on the case believe this is a human rights crisis for those detained.

“People should not be imprisoned simply because they are seeking asylum in this country,” said Margot Mendelson, staff attorney at the Prison Law Office. “The federal government is needlessly locking these individuals into a medium-security federal prison, and is depriving them of basic human needs such as health care, food, and sunlight. This lawsuit calls on the government to remove ICE detainees from the federal prison at Victorville immediately and to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected.”

Immigrants detained at Victorville have had little communication with the outside world. They have not been provided adequate medical or mental health care and suffer verbal abuse and threats of isolation when they ask for medical help. They do not have access to legal materials and the most basic information is only provided to the detainees in English — which most of them don’t speak. They face additional deprivations including inadequate and insufficient food, and minimal access to outdoor spaces for fresh air and sunlight.

The men are also unable to practice their religious beliefs. Victorville officials have refused to provide religious services or other opportunities for group worship and prayer. By policy, the men are not allowed to worship outside of their cells. Officials have not provided meals that fully comport with all of the men’s’ religious needs, forcing them to eat food that violates their faith or go hungry. The men’s religious items, including religious clothing and texts, have been confiscated.

“Through its so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, ICE has created a situation in which people who have violated no criminal laws and are simply seeking a better life are imprisoned and subjected to unconstitutional conditions, a pattern and practice unworthy of this country,” said Tim Fox, co-Executive Director of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center.

Click here for a PDF version of the complaint filed today.

More information about the case, Teneng v. Trump, is available here:
https://www.aclu.org/cases/teneng-v-trump

 

Welcome Sam!

CREEC is excited to welcome our intern Sam Gerelman!Image: Fair skin, brown haired woman with hoop earrings smiling at the camera

Sam is a rising 3L at Stanford Law School. At SLS, she has been the Academic Chair for the school’s inaugural First-Generation Professionals group, Co-President of Law Students for Disability Rights, Outreach Vice President for Stanford If/When/How, a Board Member and Pro Bono Volunteer for the Social Security Disability Project, a Stanford First Generation Mentor, and a Public Interest Mentor and Fellow. She also participated in a policy lab related to Developmental Disabilities Waiver funding in California and was a full-time clinical student with the Youth and Education Law Project. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2016 and spent last summer at the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law. In her free time, Sam loves to hike, do yoga, and hang out with her partner and cat.

Welcome back Marième!

CREEC is excited to welcome back our extern-turned-paralegal Marième DiopImage: headshot of an African-American woman with short hair pulled back; wearing a stripped shirt.!

Marième is a paralegal in our Colorado office. Marième graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A in Psychology and Spanish. After externing at CREEC in January and February 2017, she decided to pursue a career in law. During her time at Swarthmore, she became interested in issues of racial justice and immigration, interning with the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia. She is thrilled to work at CREEC again not only because they have an excellent dog to person ratio in the office, but also because she is excited to work on issues she is passionate about. When not in the office, Marième can be found playing the ukulele, traveling, or hiking.

We’re very excited to have her back in our office!

News Release: Major milestone reached in making Portland’s streets and sidewalks more accessible

(June 5, 2018) The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced a major milestone in the City’s efforts to make Portland’s streets and sidewalks more accessible to people with mobility disabilities.

Yesterday, United States District Court Judge Marco Hernandez issued a preliminary approval of the settlement in Hines, et al. v. City of Portland. The class action seeks to ensure that the City’s corners are ADA compliant.

The City of Portland has over 38,000 corners. Approximately 11,000 corners do not have curb ramps. Many other corners have ramps that do not meet current ADA standards.  Corners that do not have ADA compliant curb ramps represent a significant barrier to safe and convenient mobility for people with mobility disabilities.

This landmark settlement will take a major step forward in correcting this situation. According to the settlement’s terms, the City of Portland has agreed to construct and/or upgrade 1500 curb ramps per year for the next twelve years for a total of 18,000 ramps. The City has also agreed to survey all ramps in the next two years and establish a Transition Plan to map out how the City will ensure accessibility.

“We have nearly 40,000 corners in Portland,” said Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “Each corner is an opportunity. With the correct curb ramps, each of these corners represents a chance for our city to provide safe and accessible mobility to for all Portlanders regardless of whether they are living with a disability or not. That is why I am so supportive of this settlement. Thanks to this settlement, we will double the number of ADA compliant curb ramps we build each year and do a better job of putting our values of fair and safe access for all into practice.”

“Under this settlement, the City of Portland will make substantial improvements to the accessibility of its pedestrian right of way for residents and visitors with mobility disabilities by installing and upgrading about 18,000 curb ramps over the next 12 years – double the rate of recent installations and upgrades,” said Plaintiffs’ counsel Linda Dardarian of Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho. “This settlement was achieved collaboratively without a lawsuit, and has built a relationship of trust and open communication between representatives of the City and the community of people with mobility disabilities that will last for many years to come.”

“Federal and state disability access laws were enacted decades ago to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to fully participate in civic life,” said Tim Fox, claimants’ counsel and co-founder of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center.  “Today, we stand together with the City of Portland to fulfill the promise of those laws by ensuring that people with disabilities can travel independently throughout their communities.  Inaccessible curb ramps prevent persons with disabilities from being fully integrated in their communities.  This settlement goes a long way toward addressing those issues in that it will result in new ramps being put in at corners where there are no ramps and it will result noncompliant ramps being brought into compliance.  This settlement will make Portland accessible to all persons regardless of disability and means a tremendous amount to me as a person with a disability who has come to love this city.”

Portland resident Tess Raunig, one of the Plaintiffs in the case, said, “Nonexistent and noncompliant curb ramps have made it hard for me to move freely around my neighborhood or to get to know my neighbors, and have even put me at risk of falling out of my wheelchair into the street.  This settlement will prevent other people from having to experience that, and is a blessing for residents and visitors with disabilities.”

“This settlement means a lot to me and to persons with disabilities who want to live independently in our community,” added Portland resident Allen Hines, another Plaintiff.  “There are several neighborhoods in this City where it is nearly impossible for a person in a mobility device to navigate the neighborhood.  I am hopeful that with this settlement, we will make all of our neighborhoods in Portland accessible to people with mobility disabilities.”

People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the country – census figures estimate that 56.7 million, or 1 in 5, Americans have a disability.

With the preliminary approval granted, the members of the class will be notified of the settlement. At a subsequent hearing, a judge will rule on the final status of the settlement. This hearing is anticipated to take place September 24, 2018.

News media contacts:

John Brady
Portland Bureau of Transportation
(503) 577-8236
john.brady@portlandoregon.gov
@pbotinfo

Linda Dardarian
Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho
(510) 763-9800
ldardarian@gbdhlegal.com

Timothy Fox
Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
(303) 757-7901
tfox@creeclaw.org

Welcome Ana!

CREEC is very excited to announce our newest paralegal!

Ana Diaz is a paralegal in our Colorado office. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, where she also served as a Peacebuilding Fellow. While studying at George Mason, Ana became passionate about building a world that accommodates everyone while expanding ideas of what it means to be a valid human being. She sees civil rights law as a way to build a world free of discrimination. In her spare time, Ana can be found wandering through bookstores, baking cakes, or hiking.

We’re very excited Ana has joined us!

[Image of a woman with short dark hair and glasses in a dark shirt standing against a grey background.

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