Francisco Rodriguez was one of the first DACA recipients in Oregon to be detained by ICE without a warrant in March 2017. His community gathered and protested for him to be set free. Thankfully, the next day he was released. Upon his return home, he had learned that hundreds in the PNW LatinX community had experienced the same issue – with little to no attention brought to the matter, within the community. He then knew that a change had to be made, and that more support was needed for those fighting for their legal status.
Francisco Rodriguez, Founder (pictured above)
To support Portland metro community members in the fight against deportation, he started Pueblo Unido--a nonprofit that provides legal service navigation and client advocate support for immigrants who currently have a vulnerable immigration status. They work diligently to connect clients to adequate legal representation and help gather evidence to strengthen cases against removal. Legal representation is the single most predictive factor in whether a person will avoid deportation, secure more stable status, and achieve the right to remain in their community. Because immigration is civil—not criminal—court, however, the government does not provide legal counsel to those who cannot afford to hire their own. As a result, most people facing removal are forced to represent themselves, and are ultimately less likely to prevail against deportation.
The funds raised by the nonprofit support to expand upon their work, reach more people in the community, and continue providing services at no cost to their clients. Contributions to Pueblo Unido PDX go towards:
A legal defense fund to help people facing deportation hire immigration attorneys and have the best possible chance to win their cases; and
Staff salaries and organizational start-up to increase our capacity for case management that protects immigrants’ rights.
In summer 2019, Pueblo Unido was awarded an Ecotrust Events Community Grant and hosted their most successful fundraiser to-date. They exceeded their attendance and fundraising goals with a total of $15,000 raised. As a result: 16 people supported by Pueblo Unido were released from detention in 2019, 5 people supported by Pueblo Unido won their case against deportation outright in 2019, which means they subsequently received legal status and a pathway to citizenship. Since their start in 2017, Pueblo Unido has helped a total of 22 people get released from detention, and 7 people supported by Pueblo Unido have now won their case against removal and received lawful status!
For the past 11 years, Ecotrust Events has had the incredible opportunity to embody one of Ecotrust’s core values:enable others. By offering nonprofits with limited means the opportunity to use our event spaces, free of cost, we’ve been proud to be part of helping organizations like Pueblo Unido raise funds to advocate and bring awareness surrounding social, and environmental justice to issues surrounding our region.
The Pueblo Unido team was ecstatic with the success of their event, and pleased with their Community Grant experience, working alongside our Ecotrust Events team “We loved how nice the décor and environment were. It was a great place to bring prospective donors to become familiar with the organization.” - Executive Director, Cameron Coval
Executive Director - Cameron Coval (pictured above)
Support Pueblo Unido
We truly enjoyed working with the Pueblo Unido team and were thrilled for the opportunity to support their work. Visit their website to learn more and participate in the fight to help keep families together, support immigrant rights, and build resilient communities.
Photography by Cameron Soane.