News is finally trickling in about how our programs will be affected by the government shut down. The Florence Project receives partial funding from the federal government under a program called the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) to conduct our work at the Pinal County Jail (PCJ) and Eloy Detention Center. We also GREATLY depend on individual donations and other grants to fund our work at other facilities and to provide services not accommodated under the LOP contract at PCJ and Eloy, such as direct representation, assistance with appeals, and our Integrated Social Services program.
Earlier today, we received a “stop-work” order from the LOP program.
What does this mean for the Florence Project and people detained in Arizona?
1. There is no “stop-work” order on deportations or apprehensions. The immigration courts in Eloy and Florence will remain open and immigration enforcement continues, so people in immigration detention are still being apprehended and their deportation proceedings WILL continue. It is possible that the number of judges hearing cases for the Florence Court will be reduced, which means that people detained at the four facilities in Florence, including the Pinal County Jail, could potentially be in detention for longer periods of time as they wait to see a judge.
2. The Florence Project WILL continue working. We know that our programs at PCJ and Eloy ARE essential to the thousands of people who we serve every year and we are committed to providing the same vital services to people in immigration custody as we normally do, regardless of Congressional inaction.
3. We need your help. Although the government is asking us to suspend LOP services, we are still working. It is unclear how this will affect our budget in the long term, but since we are being asked to stop LOP services, it is likely that we will not be receiving a crucial portion of funding. The Florence Project operates on an extremely lean budget and regardless of the government shutdown, we need to raise $70,000 dollars before Dec. 31 in order to make our funding gap. The government shutdown means that in order to pay our staff’s (already low) salaries through the year, we need to raise significantly MORE than that amount.
Please consider making a donation to the Florence Project today, and help us keep our doors open through this uncertain time. The only reason we have the flexibility to stay open despite the “stop-work” order from LOP is because individual donors’ generosity helps the Florence Project stay strong and keeps our funding flexible during times like this. Every dollar counts and will go directly towards ensuring that people in deportation proceedings in Arizona have access to legal counsel, regardless of their income.
To donate, send a check to the Florence Project at P.O. Box 654, Florence, AZ 85132, or click the button below: