¡Sí Se Puede!
We Stand With you

Migrant Legal Aid rejects the systemic hatred and discrimination that people of color and other minority groups face. These practices permit white supremacy and racism to persist in our community, and it is unacceptable.

"We condemn white supremacy...We condemn the denial of implicit bias and the refusal of individuals to address their biases... We reject the comfort of neutrality and silence."
-Legal Services Association of Michigan
Our Summer Super Heroes
This Summer, we are excited to welcome a team of staff who is dedicated to protecting Michigan's farmworkers. We are working together to adapt and overcome challenges during tough times, which includes taking steps to protect our staff and farm workers. Below we would like to introduce some of our newest interns that are working with us this Summer.
Name:  Lupita Perales
School:  Michigan State University
Major:  Pre-Law Humanities and a minor in Spanish 
Future Plans:  I plan on attending Law School to become an immigration attorney and assist my Latinx community. I am very passionate about helping farmworkers and advocating for their rights. During this pandemic, they are the most vulnerable and deserve to have a voice. My role is to empower farmworkers and let them know they are more than essential workers. 
Quote:  "Migrant Legal Aid has provided me with an amazing opportunity to impact many farmworkers. As a farmworker myself, I know the challenges that we encounter on a daily basis. We work long hours from sunrise to sunset in order to provide food for many families here in America. The challenges and injustices that we face only motivate me to fight for better wages, working conditions, and proper housing." 
Esperanza attended Aquinas College and graduated with a Sociology degree in May 2020. She is currently thinking about continuing her education, either obtaining her master's degree or going to law school. Esperanza is very excited to work with the migrant community and being able to be a part of the Migrant Legal Aid team!
My name is De’Chelle Richards. I am a full time Juris Doctor Candidate, graduating Fall of 2021. I am also studying real estate, in which I will receive my license in the Fall of 2020. I am a blogger by hobby, brandedbouje.com, advocate by day. My hopes are to share my love for advocacy and people on a national level. I hope to start a private practice surrounding Probate (wills, trusts, estates), and operate a nonprofit focusing on community engagement and minority literacy.
I love animals. I love advocacy. I love cooking.
Cup of Justice 2020 Update
Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, we are adjusting our annual Cup of Justice Fundraising event. But many sponsors have continued their support.

Although there there will not be a formal outing on June 19, golfers who have signed up for the event may privately schedule a tee time for that day, or another day, using a credit-certificate to golf at the Mines Golf Course anytime between June 15 and June 26, 2020. The certificates will cover 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, a goodie bag, and a lunch which consists of a hot dog or brat, chips, and a pop.

Click here to register your team by June 22nd. If you are interested in being a sponsor or making a donation, please email Mary Bennett at mbennett@migrantlegalaid.org.
Silent Auction
Everyone looks forward to the amazing, one-of-a-kind activities and items auctioned at the Cup of Justice silent auction each year. Last year's biggest ticket item was a NASCAR driving experience! You won't believe the items we have for this year. Starting Monday, June 15, you can preview the auction items on line here and place your bids.

Once bidding closes and all golfers have completed their games, we will host a Facebook live event to announce the auction winners.

Link will be active on June 15th. We will post on our social media when it is live.

Summer Outreach From a Distance 2020

The #FiveForFarmworkers fundraiser is making a difference! Thanks to donations coming in we are able to distribute the COVID-19 FARMWORKER SAFETY KITS (masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and informational packet). They are pre-sanitized and sealed before distribution, and re-sanitized after a no-contact delivery. Workers should be given masks by their employer but they quickly wear out and adequate replacements are not prevalent. Our #FiveforFarmworkers campaign allows us to distribute masks in the safety kits. With each $5 donation, one farmworker gets delivered the complete safety kit, including surgical masks, sanitizer, gloves, and safety literature specific to farmwork conditions. Thank you to those who are donating. #SpreadOnlyLove

Our adaptation to the Coronavirus crises includes new extended office hours, including phone and video consultations through What's app, Facetime, and/or Zoom for tele-legal services. Clients will still have instant reliable access to attorneys. Farmworkers can text our office phone at (616) 303-1529 at any hour with emergencies, or call the office as late as 10 pm to speak with us at (616) 454-5055.

We are continuing to observe conditions at migrant camps as part of our Summer Outreach program, but we have implemented a few extra safety measures.

Stay up to date on our outreach efforts and other programs through Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and our website.
COVID-19 has presented challenges for Michigan's Census efforts. Many field operations have been postponed, making it more difficult for workers and volunteers to make face-to-face contact with residents to ensure an accurate count. However, adjustments are being made accordingly.

Migrant Legal Aid continues to be a Census Assistance Center even while our staff is working from home. We are also including informational resources about the Census in the packets we hand out during outreach. If you or someone you know has questions about the Census, call us at (616) 454-5055, or email Mary at mbennett@migrantlegalaid.org.
Gov. Whitmer's Executive Order to Protect Farm Workers
On June 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order mandating that employers take certain measures to protect their farm workers from COVID-19 which would include providing personal protective equipment (PPE), adjusting employer provided housing to allow for social distancing, providing more hand washing stations at works cites, and more.

Migrant Legal Aid supports Gov. Whitmer's efforts to protect farm workers, and we urge farm owners to do as much as possible to protect their workers' health and safety.

Workers in Michigan coming home after a long day of picking asparagus.
In absence of federal action, farmworkers’ COVID cases spike
We have been sharing information about safety concerns with regards to COVID-19 for farm workers. Unfortunately, there still isn't enough being done to protect them, and COVID-19 cases are expected to increase as the growing season goes on.

"...the federal government has not made safety rules mandatory, leaving it to farmers’ discretion whether to enact any safety measures at all."

"Farms in nearly every region are seeing a spike in positive cases. More than 100 workers at two large produce operations in New Jersey contracted the virus in May, as the state develops an aggressive testing campaign for migrant workers. In North Carolina, a strawberry farm in Guilford County temporarily closed after eight workers tested positive."

Pictured above, workers in Mason County, Michigan wave to Migrant Legal Aid's outreach workers from a distance as they pick asparagus. So far, we have found that it's common to find workers without PPE while they are working shoulder to shoulder