Reports detailing the overcrowding and inhumane conditions migrants are reportedly facing at Border Patrol facilities have left many people eager to help. But as those who attempted to donate food, water, blankets, and personal hygiene items with Border Patrol found, it can be difficult to know how to best help detained immigrants. Now, however, you can turn an entertaining evening out into a chance to give back. Alamo Drafthouse is helping moviegoers aid immigrants this month through charitable contributions to the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a nationwide chain of movie theaters, announced late last week that it had named Texas' largest immigration legal services non-profit as its charitable recipient for July. According to the cinema company, moviegoers will have the option of donating $1, $3, or $5 to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) every time they purchase a ticket on either drafthouse.com or through the Alamo Drafthouse mobile app. What's more, Alamo Drafthouse said they would match, up to an undisclosed level, every dollar donated to RAICES through ticket purchases.
"Our first beneficiary is RAICES, the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas," the Alamo Drafthouse said in a blog post announcing the new initiative. They described RAICES as a non-profit organization that's working "on the frontlines of an issue that's on the top of many minds this summer." Romper has reached out to RAICES for comment.
Founded in 1986 under the name the Refugee Aid Project, RAICES is now the largest provider of immigration legal services in Texas, providing free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families all across the state. "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," the official RAICES website reads.
According to their website, RAICES' staff of attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff provide a variety of services including, consultations, representation, direct legal services, assistance, and advocacy to their clients. With offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, the non-profit claimed to have closed 51,000 cases at no cost to clients in 2017.
"Our advocacy and commitment to change are driven by the clients and families we serve every day as our attorneys and legal assistants provide legal advocacy and representation in an immigration system that breaks apart families and leaves millions without pathways to legal status," the organization's website reads.
But Alamo Drafthouse isn't the only company seeking to help patrons make easy donations to RAICES. Lyft, which has been connecting RAICES' clients with free rides for a year, will now enable riders to donate to RAICES each time they take a Lyft by rounding up their ride fare to the nearest dollar. "These small donations to RAICES, multiplied, will help us free families from detention and allow asylum seekers access to the legal representation they so desperately need," RAICES said in a press release announcing the initiative.
Donations to RAICES — such as those made when purchasing a ticket to see any of this summer's biggest blockbusters at an Alamo Drafthouse location — help fund the legal non-profit's efforts to aid detained or separated families seeking asylum. Donations also help RAICES fund its Children's Program, which focuses on providing free representation, referrals, and information to thousands of unaccompanied minor children taken into custody by the Office of Refugee Resettlement each year.
In a blog post announcing RAICES as its July charitable recipient, Alamo Drafthouse said a similar model of charitable giving used last year during screenings of the film Won't You Be My Neighbor? enabled the movie theater chain to send more than $116,000 to local PBS stations. Perhaps they'll be able to send a similar amount to RAICES at the end of the month.