Charlottesville Nonprofit Works to Raise Money to Help Undocumented Immigrants
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Undocumented immigrants potentially facing deportation could soon receive a new type of support in their fight for a green card or citizenship.
A new nonprofit in Charlottesville is helping to foot legal expenses.
On Wednesday, May 8, one woman in Charlottesville shared her battle with the system.
The Cville Immigrant Bond Fund hosted a fundraiser at Oakhart Social on Wednesday evening.
The group is working to raise money to help immigrant families keep their loved ones in the United States.
“I make a very bad decision,” Eva Solano, who lives in Charlottesville, said. “For me, that cost me more than other people."
Eva Solano has called the United States home for 16 years.
“I came here illegally when I was 18 - actually, my parents bring me here," Solano said.
She broke the law again when she was 33 when she got behind the wheel of a car after drinking.
Because of that mistake, she had an unexpected person waiting for her when she finished her jail time.
"I get my stuff and I move out, and it was like ICE waiting for me,” Solano said. “I didn't know. It was like a shock."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained her for 28 days.
She was later released and has returned to work as the sous chef at Oakhart Social, but it’s just the start of a long battle ahead.
“Anybody who is undocumented is here living in fear,” Priscilla Mendenhall of the Cville Immigration Bond Fund said.
Mendenhall and Solano are now teaming up to alleviate some of that fear with the Cville Immigrant Bond Fund, which raises money to help pay for legal fees and bond of nonviolent undocumented offenders.
“We've raised close to $40,000, which is pretty amazing,” Mendenhall said.
And they're hoping to raise more.
Solano is working to raise money for others while also waiting to find out her own fate when she goes to court in June.
"I have to face the situation and try to prove that I deserve to be here," Solano said. “See what the courts say, and let’s hope for the best."
People in similar situations are encouraged to reach out to the Cville Immigrant Bond Fund.
Funds will be given out on a case-by-case basis after people go through a formal application process.