U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today announced Aissa Olivarez, staff attorney for the Community Immigration Law Center (CILC) in Madison, as his guest for the State of the Union address tomorrow night.
Olivarez is the first-ever full-time staff attorney at CILC, a nonprofit resource center which helps low-income immigrants with legal services. Her practice primarily focuses on helping those who are detained and going through removal proceedings, including some of the 83 individuals arrested in Wisconsin last September.
“Over the last two years, the Trump Administration has manufactured a humanitarian crisis on the southern border and escalated detentions of immigrants with either no prior criminal record, or with minor offenses such as traffic violations. During this time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 83 people in Wisconsin, targeting our local immigrant community and breaking up families,” said Pocan in a statement. “Throughout these events, Aissa Olivarez has worked tirelessly to keep families together and ensure that the government respects every individual’s rights. Aissa’s work is more important than ever and that is why I have asked her to join me for this year’s State of the Union where we will stand in solidarity with our friends in the immigrant community.”
The Community Immigration Law Center, an initiative sponsored by a coalition of legal, social, and faith-based organizations wanting to contribute to the community and to address the unmet legal needs of immigrants in Madison and surrounding areas, is located on Madison’s near east side.
“Every individual has certain legal rights, and though they may be undocumented, people who are immigrants still have the right to feel protected in their own community and shouldn’t fear law enforcement,” Olivarez said in a statement. “When immigrants are detained and separated from family, it’s easy to lose hope. Thanks to support from the Dane County Immigrant Assistance Fund, we were able to calm fears and ensure dignity to our neighbors. My goal as an attorney is to let people know they are not alone in this fight for their rights. I’m excited to join Congressman Pocan for the State of the Union and to raise awareness of the many challenges that immigrants face under our current legal system and under this Administration.”
Last September, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids in Wisconsin that resulted in the arrest of 83 individuals. Following these raids, Pocan attempted to gain information regarding the agency’s communication with local law enforcement officials, as well as information about whether the arrested individuals held criminal records. Despite meeting with agency officials and submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Pocan still has not received the information he requested. Last week, Pocan visited the agency’s offices in Washington, DC and plans to release video footage of his meeting if ICE does not comply with his more than 100-day old FOIA request.