Zapproved CEO joins immigration representation nonprofit

The CEO of the Portland-based legal software company joins a group of big firm lawyers and nonprofit attorneys that will represent immigrants nationwide at risk of deportation.

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President Trump’s immigration ban prompted widespread condemnation from many Oregon businesses. Many CEOs also said they were eager to do more than issue a statement of opposition but were uncertain about how to move forward.

On Saturday, Zapproved CEO Monica Enand sent Oregon Business the following, gleeful e-mail message: “I have finally figured out what I am going to do, and I am super excited!”

Here’s what she’s doing: Enand has joined a new national effort to provide representation for immigrants called the American Immigrant Representation Project. She was invited to join the steering committee to represent the tech and business communities.

“We are very proud to be actively working with this project,” says Chris Bright, Zapproved VP of Marketing.

Below is the text of a letter Enand sent today to Portland tech companies (and others) soliciting donations and pro bono support:
I am writing with an urgent request for your help. Immigrants have been essential to building our country and the high-tech industry. I am joining an effort to assist them by providing legal representation so that they can have a voice in removal proceedings. With the possibility of hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing deportation, there are simply not enough resources to provide lawyers for these people. 

Zapproved has worked for many years with recently retired Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin.  Along with a core group of lawyers, she started the American Immigrant Representation Project (AIRP), which aims to raise money to support existing immigration defense organizations which are often small and underfunded.  They have solicited more than 200 law firms seeking volunteer attorneys to represent immigrants in removal proceedings. Here’s an article in today’s New York Law Journal about the effort.
I am honored to join the Steering Committee of key leaders in the immigration defense community, the criminal defense community, leading public interest organizations, as well as major law firms. A list of the Steering Committee members is attached to this letter.
This project needs the support of the business community.  I ask you to join with me in helping to support this very timely and worthy project. Zapproved has committed $10,000 to support this project. We are seeking an initial budget of $1 million to get the project up and running. I ask that you consider making an immediate grant to AIRP of to match or exceed ours in support of the great need for immigration defense work.  I hope that this description of AIRP’s initial goals and plans is sufficient to encourage you to provide substantial financial support for this urgent project. 
Immigrants with counsel are fourteen times more likely to successfully challenge removal than those without representation.  The presence of counsel can make all the difference in challenging removal. The AIRP expects thousands of people will need representation, most of whom will be unable to locate or afford counsel.  
The AIRP hopes and expects to be able to provide representation to all those in need.  This project will work on the national level with a focus on those who are detained with clearly meritorious legal arguments including those whose deportation violates explicit federal regulations, and/or those whose deportation would decimate an existing family structure or subject them to immediate danger upon leaving the United States.
The AIRP has partnered with gold-standard public interest organizations that specialize in removal proceedings, such as the Immigrant Defense Project, ACLU, Justice Corps and the American Bar Association.  These organizations have agreed to provide training and supervision to volunteers from cooperating law firms.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or Judge Scheindlin ([email protected]) if you have questions or suggestions regarding the AIRP.  Let me know as soon as possible but no later than February 17, 2017 whether you will agree to aid this effort. To make a contribution, please send your payment to:
American Immigration Representation Project
c/o American Immigration Council
1331 G Street NW, Suite 200
Washington DC 20005