Legal aid helps deserving people trapped in tragic circumstances

Andy Chen began volunteering at the Asian Law Alliance’s monthly immigration clinics to broaden his immigration experience and meet new people. To a trained attorney like Andy, completing paperwork for a wide variety of immigration issues may seem like no big deal, but to a low-income immigrant with limited English capabilities, these legal documents are intimidating – they could be the difference between providing for their family and living on the street. “The people that come to these clinics,” says Andy, “are good-hearted people who genuinely need help.”

One of those good-hearted people was Sun Shu Cai, an elderly man from China caught in a web of tragic circumstances. Mr. Cai fought on the losing side of the Chinese civil war in the 1940s, and afterwards was imprisoned for nearly 20 years. Once the political climate neutralized and Mr. Cai was released, he was an old man and the opportunity to create the life he wanted had passed. Mr. Cai made his way to the U.S. where he now lives in an immigrant shelter in the Bay Area. Mr. Cai sought Asian Law Alliance’s help in completing an application for asylum. “I became in awe of this man and the way that, even with all the tragedy he had experienced, you got the impression he was very happy and positive,” says Andy. And now with Andy’s help, Mr. Cai is finally able to create a life for himself in the U.S.

Andy expected the clients at the clinic to fit the undocumented immigrant stereotype – not working, avoiding the law, and existing outside the framework of our society. Instead, he found most of them live similar lives to his own: “They are going to school, working blue-collar jobs, and paying taxes. They go to the gym and go to McDonald’s just like me.” Donate now to help people like Mr. Cai obtain critical legal aid.

The Campaign for Justice. Choose Justice. Increasing Access for Those Without.
Asian Law Alliance, San Jose, California

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