Over the past two years, an erosion of human rights has been taking place across the border, and the escalation of tactics used by ICE and CBP has devolved into a blatant violation of human rights. People are seeking asylum and refuge from violence and life-threatening situations. The rights they are supposed to have to seek asylum as recognized by the United Nations—and championed for decades by the United States—are now being openly ignored and undermined. The system is being dehumanized and we want to explicitly state how alarmed we, the owners of Projectline and Yesler, are by the crisis we see unfolding at the southern border of the United States.
As the co-founders of this company, we created a mission statement that we believe in:
“To positively impact the people we work with, the people we work for, and the people in our community. To empower each other to do what we love by fostering an environment of trust, independence, and growth; to exceed client expectations through our creativity, flexibility, and enthusiasm; and to contribute to the global community by sharing our time, energy, and resources.”
It reflects who we are as individuals and what we stand for as a company. We also know that there are many in our community who share our concerns and want to act. Times like these often bring out the best in people who want things to be better.
The good news is that there are some amazing organizations out there that are making a difference. They have determined staff working with purpose to provide legal support, enforce due process, and make sure that there is transparency and accountability. We feel that two organizations in particular—RAICES and Innovation Law Lab—are having a positive impact, and we are pledging some of our resources to support them.
RAICES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. RAICES is a frontline organization in the roiling debate about immigration and immigrants in the world. As an organization that combines expertise developed from the daily practice of immigration law with a deep commitment to advocacy, RAICES is unique among immigration organizations. A diverse group of 130 attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff provides consultations, direct legal services, representation, assistance, and advocacy to communities in Texas and to clients after they leave the state.
Innovation Law Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to inform immigrants of their rights and capture their data and important documents. In collaboration with partners at the border, the organization is designing systems to orient and support asylum seekers even before they enter the country. The Law Lab is actively powering programs that connect asylum seekers with pro bono legal representation and defend due process, and is deployed in immigrant detention centers and hostile judicial jurisdictions across the United States.
In addition to our own pledge of financial support, we will be matching funds donated by our employees. We hope those of you who can will join us in our support. In closing, we would like to reiterate that we passionately support the idea that we can all be better by welcoming those who are new, different, idealistic, and looking to build a better life.
Mike Kichline, Anika Lehde, and David Jones