Kotlik: Background Report

Kotlik, an Alaska Native community in southwestern Alaska, works in partnership with AIJ to monitor the erosion and other weather events that present an increasingly severe risk to the community as the climate changes. The homes and infrastructure in Kotlik are located along the banks of the Kotlik River near the southern coast of Norton Sound. In 2009, the United States Army Corps of Engineers identified Kotlik as a “priority action” community in the agency’s Baseline Erosion Assessment. In the past ten years, approximately 20 feet of river bank have been lost to erosion and flooding. Numerous homes and buildings are imminently threatened by erosion. The community is working with AIJ and a number of other state and federal agencies to relocate homes, protect people and infrastructure, and adapt to the intensifying local effects of climate change. This report, produced by AIJ in collaboration with residents of Kotlik, documents studies of the hazards threatening Kotlik, the effects of erosion on the community, mitigation efforts, and steps the community has taken to relocate threatened homes. The goal of the report is to assist the community in its efforts to obtain technical assistance and funding to relocate homes to safer ground.

Click here to read the report.

Seeking volunteer attorneys and interpreters

Alaska Institute for Justice seeks volunteer attorneys and interpreters for:

From A to B: Alaskans to the Border
Dilley Detention Center – Dilley, Texas
June 9-14, 2019

Work with asylum seekers being held in U.S. custody and learn of the many legal and practical challenges they face. Orientation and training will be offered.


For more information, or to volunteer, please contact: contactaij@akijp.org

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AIJ also seeks volunteer attorneys for the Pro Bono Asylum Project

An ongoing effort to provide legal representation to asylum seekers in Alaska. No prior asylum experience necessary. Training and ongoing mentoring provided.

For more information, or to volunteer, please contact: dan.rodgers@akijp.org

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Volunteer service to either project applies towards the 50-hour aspirational goal for pro bono service established under the Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct.

No time to volunteer? Donations are much-needed and gratefully accepted!

Thank You!

Language Access Plan

The purpose of the Language Access Plan (LAP) is to provide guidance to AIJ staff to ensure equal access to the services provided by the Alaska Institute for Justice for LEP individuals and individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. AIJ provides language access for LEP individuals and individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing because AIJ’s mission is to protect and promote the human rights of all Alaskans. AIJ’s Language Access Plan is a critical component of this mission and ensures that all Alaskans have access to the services provided by AIJ. AIJ also receives federal funding and must ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. National origin discrimination includes not providing services to LEP people.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, provides specifically that no person shall “on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Non-compliance with Title VI can jeopardize a program’s federal funding. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rather than Title VI of the Civil Rights Act

Download the 2019 AIJ Language Access Plan

Medical Interpreters in Outpatient Practice

Language Interpreter Center Program Director, Barb Jacobs, co-authored an article recently published in the Annals of Family Medicine. This article provides an overview of the federal requirements related to providing interpreter services for non-English-speaking patients in outpatient practice. Antidiscrimination provisions in federal law require health programs and clinicians receiving federal financial assistance to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency who are eligible for or likely to be encountered in their health programs or activities.

To learn more, click here: http://www.annfammed.org/content/16/1/70.full#aff-1

Displaced By Climate Change – June 6th at Williwaw

Tuesday, June 6th
6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:30)
Williwaw, 601 F Street, Anchorage
No entry fee, open to the public

Join the Alaska Institute for Justice Research and Policy Institute in welcoming guest speakers Salote Soqo and Patricia Cochran as they address their experiences on the “front lines” of environmental justice and climate action in the South Pacific and Alaska.

Salote Soqo is Senior Program Leader of Environmental Justice & Climate Action with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) focused on advancing and protecting the rights of peoples displaced by climate change. Salote is a native of Fiji, an island in the South Pacific that is experiencing forced displacement of coastal and rural communities as a result of rising seas, natural disasters and increased temperatures. Her program focuses on lifting the voices of communities that are most at risk to this issue by providing them with resources and tools to empower and protect communities and to defend their inalienable human rights and human dignities. UUSC’s program targets to serve indigenous communities in the South Pacific and in Alaska. Salote emphasizes the urgency of this crisis, “These are indigenous communities and what they are experiencing is directly impinging on their basic human rights and their values as indigenous people. Governments must urgently respond to this crisis to protect the rights and dignities of their communities.”

Patricia Cochran is an Inupiat Eskimo born and raised in Nome, Alaska. She serves as Executive Director of the Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC), a public, not-for-profit corporation. The ANSC provides a linkage for creating partnerships and communication between science and research and Alaska Native communities. Ms. Cochran previously served as Administrator of the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage; Executive Director of the Alaska Community Development Corporation; Local Government Program Director with the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and Director of Employment and Training for the North Pacific Rim Native Corporation (Chugachmiut). She also served as Chair of the 2009 Indigenous Peoples’ Global Network on Climate Change and former Chaire of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, an international organization representing 155,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Greenland.

Alaska is at the forefront of one of the biggest humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. As the Arctic disproportionately bears the consequences of a rapidly changing climate, Alaska Native communities are facing an urgent need to relocate. Join us to discuss this critical issue!

Displaced By Climate Change Flyer June 6

Facebook event page is at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1690965084540187/

Carla Timpone Award for Activism Awarded to Kari Robinson

Congratulations to Kari Robinson, AIJ Deputy Director, for garnering the 2017 Carla Timpone Award for Activism. The award, from the Alaska Women’s Lobby, honors hard work, dedication, and leadership in Juneau. Thank you, Kari, for your advocacy and work on behalf of Alaskan women, children and families!

More info at: http://www.akwomenslobby.org/timpone.html

Stand Up for Refugees, Immigrants

Author: Robin Bronen

President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive orders exploded like a bomb across the world, wreaking havoc, causing injury and placing thousands of people in danger. Sadly, this targeting of immigrants, refugees and Muslims, which inspires hateful words and actions, is not new.

I have worked with Alaska’s immigrant, refugee and Muslim communities for more than 20 years as the first Alaska state refugee coordinator in 2003 and as the executive director and co-founder of the Alaska Institute for Justice, the only nonprofit in Alaska that provides free and low-cost immigration legal services. Advocating for justice and human rights in our community, I have been the recipient of hateful rhetoric, which has been painful and scary. Several years ago, I received a death threat just prior to speaking about comprehensive immigration reform at an event sponsored by the World Affairs Council, requiring the FBI and Anchorage Police Department to also be present to ensure everyone’s safety. Now this hateful rhetoric has intensified inside and outside of Alaska.

The policies being crafted by President Trump are being built on top of a long legacy of federal government actions that have harmed immigrants, refugees and Muslims. In 2002, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was implemented during President Bush’s presidency to use immigration enforcement to target the Muslim community. NSEERS singled out immigrant men and boys over the age of 16 from 24 Muslim-majority countries plus North Korea. They were required to register with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) offices, the predecessor agency to the Department of Homeland Security. Immigration officials fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed 85,000 Muslim and Arab non-citizens from November 2002 to May 2003 under the program. In Southern California, between 500 and 700 men and boys from Middle Eastern countries were detained and disappeared for weeks by federal immigration officials when they complied with orders to appear at INS offices for the program.

To see full article, go to https://www.adn.com/opinions/2017/02/07/stand-up-for-refugees-immigrants/

Robin Bronen is the founder and executive director of the Alaska Institute for Justice, which provides free and low-cost legal services for immigrants. She has worked and advocated on behalf of refugees, immigrants and the Muslim community in Alaska for more than 20 years.


Report: Immigrants bring $1.4B in spending power to Alaska’s economy

A new report that shows how much Alaska’s immigrant population impacts the state’s economy. An immigration reform advocacy group called The Partnership for a New American Economy released such reports for every state and Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 22. By looking at demographics, entrepreneurship, taxes, visa demand and more, the reports are full of data that show the economic impact immigrant populations have across the country.


Read the ADN article here. Download the report here.

As need for interpreters grows, Alaska courts look to technology to save money

We would like to share an Alaska Dispatch News article written about the need for court interpreters in Alaska. The Language Interpreter Center has trained the only two court-certified interpreters in Alaska.  The Alaska Court System will see hundreds of requests for interpreting services this year, and that volume has staff looking to technology to streamline what can become a complex and costly process. Here is the link to the article.

US Citizenship & Immigration Services Current Alerts

US Citizenship & Immigration Services Current Alerts are posted at the following address and are searchable by topic and date. http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts

Hearing on “Refugee Admissions, Fiscal Year 2016” before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on October 1, 2015 by Chief of Refugee Affairs Division Barbara L Strack and Acting Associate Director Matthew D. Emrich http://www.uscis.gov/tools/resources/hearing-refugee-admissions-fiscal-year-2016-senate-committee-judiciary-october-1-2015-chief-refugee-affairs-division-barbara-l-strack-and-acting-associate-director-matthew-d-emrich

DHS to Create Filipino WWII Veterans Parole Program http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/dhs-create-filipino-wwii-veterans-parole-program

USCIS Simplifies the Immigrant Fee Payment Process http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-simplifies-immigrant-fee-payment-process

DOS Publishes Updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015 http://www.uscis.gov/news/dos-publishes-updated-visa-bulletin-october-2015