PLATINUM2024

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Our clients are strong resilient individuals who inspire us everyday.

aka The Florence Project   |   Tucson, AZ   |  www.firrp.org

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Mission

Our mission is to provide free legal and social services to detained adults and unaccompanied children facing immigration removal proceedings in Arizona.

Ruling year info

1991

Executive Director

Lillian Aponte

Main address

P.O. Box 86299

Tucson, AZ 85754 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

86-0658103

NTEE code info

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Family Counseling, Marriage Counseling (P46)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Detained immigrants facing deportation in the U.S. do not have the right to a public defender. Without representation, many will lose their case and be sent back to the dangerous circumstances theyve fled. To some, this is a death sentence. The Florence Project offers its clients a lifeline through free legal and social services, as well as strategic advocacy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Adult Program

On any given day, thousands of adults are detained in prison-like immigration facilities, where reports of inadequate food, medical neglect, and solitary confinement are tragically common. Due to the lack of a public defender, adults in immigration detention often face court alone, unrepresented against a trained government attorney advocating for their removal. For thirty-five years, the Florence Project has provided free legal and social services, and immigration education for people threatened with deportation. Our Adult Team has been a national leader in developing high-quality, innovative, and trauma-informed legal education and representation services to detained adults. We prioritize direct legal representation for the most vulnerable populations, including individuals with severe medical or mental health needs, those at-risk of imminent harm in their home countries, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Indigenous language speakers, and people enduring family separation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Florence Project provides holistic social services, giving our clients the tools they need to address their mental health needs and navigate logistical challenges that come up outside the courtroom while adapting to life in a new country. Our social workers help clients heal from past trauma and, through ongoing case management, the team responds to particularly challenging circumstances such as serious mental health conditions, medical needs, shelter and food insecurity, domestic violence, suicidal ideation, pregnancy, parenting, and family separation. Our social workers advocate for children of all ages, including tender-aged clients; identify and report medical neglect in detention facilities; and advocate for medical access. The team also identifies adults showing signs of incompetency to ensure they are appointed attorneys. We develop creative, developmentally appropriate ways to communicate with diverse clients and engage in community outreach to provide necessary resources.

Population(s) Served

On any given day, thousands of children are detained in shelter facilities and group homes across Arizona. Often these children have been separated from family, having endured dangerous journeys, and are suddenly faced with uncertainty in government custody. Our staff offer them free legal education and representation. We provide weekly know-your-rights presentations and individual legal consultations to empower our young clients in their legal journey. Our trafficking staff engages in community education and representation for survivors of human trafficking. Together, our Children's Program staff serve as the eyes and ears on the ground, observing trends, and often being the first to highlight systemic issues on a national scale.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Our Advocacy Program amplifies the voices of our clients and partners on the ground, educates the public on the consequences of immigration law and policy, appeals wrongly decided cases, builds strong partnerships with local and national partners, plays matchmaker by identifying plaintiffs for national partners pursuing impact litigation, and proactively engages in media outreach and strategic communications around significant issues and trends.

By providing free appellate representation to people appealing their immigration cases, our Advocacy Team also addresses important issues or questions of law that can have a broad impact by establishing more favorable legal precedent for people seeking immigration relief.

Population(s) Served

Over the past several years, escalating attacks on access to asylum have led to restrictive policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, including weeks or months long waiting periods to present for asylum (also known as "metering); the Remain in Mexico policy; the Title 42 border closure; and bans on asylum for people who have passed through a third country on their way to the U.S.

In partnership with the Kino Border Initiative, we work with regional and national partners to preserve and restore access to asylum. Our Border Action Team provides legal services to migrants in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico and has taken a leadership role in coordinating logistics in both Arizona and Sonora, Mexico between legal services and humanitarian aid organizations to meet and assist thousands of migrants at the Arizona-Mexico border. Through this work, we empower migrants to make informed decisions about their immigration journeys.

Population(s) Served

Placing immigration cases with pro bono attorneys allows the Florence Project to provide more people in immigration detention with full legal representation, while giving our pro bono partners the opportunity to gain rewarding professional experience. Since there is no public defender system in immigration proceedings, pro bono attorneys expand access to justice for detained individuals who may otherwise be forced to represent themselves. The Florence Project Pro Bono Program provides comprehensive training and mentorship to pro bono attorneys, partnering them with a dedicated team of Florence Project attorneys and legal assistants. Become a volunteer or pro bono attorney today by visiting our website. https://firrp.org/getinvolved/volunteer/

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

As of 2021: this number is the total number of in children who received KYR, number of adults who received pro se assistance, and number of people served at the border.

Number of family separations?

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This is family separations

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

There is no public defender system for people facing immigration removal proceedings. We seek to extend holistic legal and social services to all immigrants facing potential removal in Arizona, and to make even greater change through our direct services, advocacy, appellate, and communications work, which seek to uphold the inherent dignity of all immigrants. When we do this work, we protect the due process rights and the dignity of immigrants threatened with deportation. As a result, immigrants facing detention and removal are treated more fairly and humanely. We are building toward a world where immigrant communities can thrive, and justice is upheld.

Confronting the challenges and complexities of our immigration system, we rely on perseverance, sustainability, strategic acumen, compassion, and hope. Our primary strategies to achieve this goal include expanding direct representation for immigrants in removal proceedings to enhance access to justice, broadening advocacy and appellate programs for greater impact, and expanding our impactful communications strategies to reshape the immigration narrative and influence policy. All immigrants in detention facing deportation should be entitled to legal representation, fully informed about their rights under the law, and treated with fairness and humanity. We are committed and resilient in our pursuit of this objective.

We operate in one of the most challenging terrains in the U.S. The border region, and the massive detention complexes in rural Arizona, are often used as testing grounds for anti-immigrant policies. Understanding this, we have created protocols to document what we witness inside, take systemic issues to the media, and litigate when necessary. We use our direct service work to inform our systematic change efforts. Our approach situates us to have a powerful impact in areas affecting detained immigrants in Arizona, and nationwide. Our staffs on-the-ground experience makes them immigration experts, and our organization continues to be a trailblazer in creating innovative solutions. The Florence Project also serves as a training ground for movement leaders, and our staff have gone on to lead human rights organizations throughout the country. Their vision of transformational change is often shaped by our direct services work. We bring together clients, leaders, and advocates to move forward our vision for change.

In 1989, with much support, the Florence Project was founded by two volunteers to provide free legal services to the Florence, Arizona detention center. In 1998, we pioneered the pro se model by necessity, to empower individuals to fight their own legal case. Our model served as the blueprint for DOJ/EOIRs Legal Orientation Program or LOP, which has been implemented nationwide in 43 detention facilities. We expanded the scope of our legal services to include serving Unaccompanied Children (UACs) in 2000. Since then, we have become experts in providing legal services to children. In 2001, we recognized the holistic challenges our clients face and again pioneered the integration of social services into immigration work. Our social workers have become leaders in this field, supporting the integration of social services in other legal programs across the country. In 2018, our staff responded to the family separation crisis by serving hundreds of parents, children, and siblings forcibly separated at the border and by refuting the governments assertions that separations were not happening with our data. Noting attacks to asylum, we launched our partnership with the Kino Border Initiative to offer services to asylum seekers in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico in 2018, before the creation of our Border Action Team. In 2022, the Florence Project served over 24,000 adults and children - the highest volume of people in a year in the organization's history. The very fiber of our ethos is to take on systemic challenges, and face them head on creatively, with a lens toward justice, sustainability, compassion, diversity, and inclusion. We have done this for over 30 years and will continue to do so with your support.

Financials

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Board of directors
as of 03/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Milagros Cisneros, Esq.

Office of the Federal Public Defender - Phoenix

Cindy Villanueva, Esq.

Dickinson Wright PLLC

Ira Feldman

Felco Business Services

Jose Carrillo, Esq.

Republic Services

Leticia Hernandez

JP Morgan Chase Bank

Nathan Fidel, Esq.

Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally, PC

Margaret Kirch, M.S.W.

Emily Ward, Esq.

Fennemore

Deirdre Mokos, Esq.

David K. Androff, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Arizona State University

Andrew Silverman, J.D.

University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Angela Banks, J.D., M.Litt.

Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Alan Gold, CPA

MGKS

Robyn Young

SmartRent

Benjamin A. Nucci, Esq.

Snell & Wilmer LLP

Ty Frankel, Esq.

Frankel Syverson PLLC

Tyler Carrell

Lewis Roca

Margarita Silva, Esq.

Silva Fontes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/22/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data