Pride Law Fund is proud to announce that it has selected Ari Jones as the 2018-2019 recipient of the Tom Steel Fellowship. Ari is sponsored by Oasis Legal Services If you're interested in meeting them in person, they'll be at our Annual Cruise.
Project Title: The NorCal Queer Immigrant Deportation Diversion Initiative
Queer immigrants face a heightened risk of both deportation – due to criminalization, unemployment, and participation in underground economies – and harm if removed to their home countries where they would face oppression based on their sexual and gender identities. But direct services providers are currently unable to meet the needs of queer immigrants living in Northern California. This project will work to provide queer immigrants greater immigration status security by assisting them clients in attaining lawful permanent resident and citizen statuses, while also providing education and advocacy to increase their access to housing, employment, and public benefits. The project will improve the queer immigrant community’s knowledge of and ability to access state and federal social services; increase awareness of queer immigrants’ rights pertaining to housing, employment, and public benefits; and expand the network of NorCal legal services providers who are dedicated to providing culturally-competent legal services to queer immigrants in order to improve access to legal services across all subject areas.
Ari Jones is a dedicated immigrant rights advocate. Ari has provided direct legal services to NorCal immigrants with Berkeley Law student groups, during internships with Catholic Charities of the East Bay and California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. (CRLA), and as a clinical student at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). Ari has also worked on government policy, interning with the USCIS Ombudsman’s office in Washington D.C., and on reentry issues, with the Clean Slate Unit at EBCLC. As a non-binary, queer, Bay Area native, Ari is deeply rooted in NorCal queer communities. Their direct representation of queer immigrants inspired them to design this project with Oasis Legal Services.