Ready to Stay, a national coalition working to help immigrants and advocates prepare for immigration reform, held a press event on Tuesday, July 13th to announce the launch of ReadytoStay.org. Ready to Stay is a hub that immigrants can turn to for accurate and reliable support surrounding information relevant to their immigration status and changes in immigration processes. This online platform hosts critical information regarding immigration issues such as DACA renewals, Temporary Protected Status applications, Immigration Advocates Network’s directory of tens of thousands of trusted legal service providers, and more. Because undocumented immigrants are often cautious of reaching out for assistance with issues relevant to immigration status due to fear of bad faith actors, Ready to Stay is committed as a grassroots effort to support immigrants and community-based organizations.
The launch event included speaker Daniela Alulema, from the Center for Migration Studies, who broke down the gap in eligibility among immigrants for increased legal protections and citizenship status. Today, there are over 10.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Undocumented immigrants are deeply embedded in their communities, with 58% of undocumented immigrants having been in the United States for more than 10 years. About one million of the undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States are already eligible for the existing DACA program, and another 500,000 undocumented immigrants are eligible for Temporary Protected Status. Abraham Paulos, a speaker at the event from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, highlighted the importance of Black immigrants having access to legal counsel. Out of the 10,000 Liberian immigrants who are eligible for Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness, a program that allows certain Liberian immigrants to adjust their immigration status and eventually become naturalized, only 3,000 have applied. As legal services have been historically less available to Black immigrants, Ready to Stay has committed to ensuring that immigration support is available to all communities in need.
Lack of accessibility to legal tools and advice is a major obstacle to legal immigration status. To ensure that undocumented immigrants who are eligible for legal protections can apply, there must be a coordinated effort to provide reliable information and comprehensive assistance. Ready to Stay is hosted on the Pro Bono Net platform and is available in 12 languages, reflecting its commitment to providing support to all those in need. Already, Ready to Stay has published a resource on fraud prevention available in 9 languages.
Creating a relationship based on trust and reliability is a crucial aspect of helping undocumented immigrants feel safe and confident accessing the tools and information on Ready to Stay’s website. That is why Ready to Stay has been working closely with faith based and other community organizations to support immigration efforts. Because faith based organizations are established cornerstones within some communities, working with faith leaders will help community members feel comfortable accessing Ready to Stay for assistance.
The Ready to Stay team expressed bright hopes for the future of immigration to the United States. They are hopeful that the Biden administration will deliver on establishing a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and are ready to continue fighting for the rights of undocumented immigrants no matter the political climate. The digital environment has presented many new opportunities for access to justice initiatives, and Ready to Stay serves as a shining example of how technology can be leveraged to support our most vulnerable communities.