For 16 years, the Alaska Institute for Justice has worked tirelessly to promote social justice, serving nearly 7,000 Alaskans since its inception in 2005. Although its beginnings were humble, the services that the organization, then known as the Alaska Immigration Justice Project, provides were and continue to be indispensable.
Navigating the immigration system in this country is a perilous journey. The rules are complex and ever-changing, and justice moves slowly. For those whose first language is not English, especially
those fleeing untenable and often dangerous conditions in their home country, adjusting their immigration status can seem like an insurmountable task. Many are victims of human trafficking or violent crimes and sexual abuse.
Immigration attorneys Robin Bronen, Mara Kimmel, and Jason Baumetz, among others, were facing this crisis first-hand when they worked at what was then called the Immigration and Refugee Services Program (now the Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services Program. When that program closed in February 2005, they quickly realized that the community’s need for low-cost or pro bono legal assistance was burgeoning and could simply not be ignored. Numerous community members and partner organizations stood behind them in their effort to form a new non-profit to serve those so desperately in need of their help.