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Centro Legal de la Raza

Oakland, United States
Joined May 2020

Centro Legal’s immigration practice is focused on serving the needs of our most vulnerable community members, including families living in poverty, long residing undocumented immigrants and families.

Presence in: Mexico, United States
Focus: Citizenship & Identification, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements, Livelihoods

Founded in 1969, Centro Legal de la Raza is a legal services agency protecting and advancing the rights of low-income, immigrant, and Latino communities through bilingual legal representation, education, and advocacy. By combining quality legal services with know-your-rights education and youth development, Centro Legal ensures access to justice for thousands of individuals throughout Northern and Central California.

People Associated With This Organization

Elaina Vermeulen

United States  
Centro Legal de la Raza
Joined May 2020
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence
I presently work as a paralegal on the Ending Immigrant Detention team at Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, CA. I work with detained immigrants in complex removal proceeding in the San Francisco and Northern LA Immigration Court jurisdictions. I previously co-coordinated the Post Release Accompaniment Project to secure the release of eligible, detained immigrants on bond and parole. The main scope of my work is focused on representing LGBTQI + individuals with past criminal convictions, incarcerated in ICE and Federal BOP custody, in their removal proceedings. I am a founding member and co-coordinator of the Bay Area Asylum Support Coalition (BAASC), which connects unrepresented individuals in non-detained removal proceedings with legal support, organizing training and wraparound services. I am also a founder and co-leader of VisibiliT, a Bay-Area grassroots organization that works to connect and empower transgender and gender non-conforming immigrants being released from criminal and ICE custody.
Prior to my time at Centro, I was the Transgender Detention Release Specialist for the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, where I organized advocacy groups, service providers and community members nationally to create networks of support and sponsorship for transgender asylum seekers. Within this role, Elaina was responsible for directing on-the-ground legal accompaniment and services for the LGBTQIA+ exodus. By joining this network, I hope to learn more about the work being done at intersection between immigration and criminal carceral systems. Additionally, I hope to be able to connect with individuals doing powerful movement work to abolish systems of oppression through the practice of law.
Elaina Vermeulen is the network champion (main point of contact) for Centro Legal de la Raza.

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