Mountain View Voice

News - August 3, 2012

Community Brief

Legal aid boost for immigrants

Immigration services have found a strong ally in the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The foundation announced Tuesday, July 31, that it is donating $654,090 in grants to organizations providing immigration services for low and moderate-income residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. This is the foundation's third year of donating to legal services for immigrants in the area. The money will be divided between four organizations: Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, the Mission Asset Fund, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the International Institute of the Bay Area.

The organizations receiving the grant money all offer various immigrant services, including visas, naturalization, asylum and assistance to survivors of violence. Silicon Valley Community Foundation's grant-making team reviewed proposals from various local organizations before settling on the four organizations to which they donated the grant money, a spokeswoman said.

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County received $250,000 of the grant money, which the organization plans to use to unite six immigration service providers in order to improve access to immigration services. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation's vice president, Rebecca Salner, says that the foundation's continued funding of immigration services has led to a 20 percent increase in people who have obtained legal consultations, providing aid in over 6,000 cases.

"This is an important issue for us because this area is so diverse," Salner said of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. "One third of the residents in this area are immigrants. There is definitely a high demand and need for immigrant services, and our goal is to help organizations provide consultations."

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