The Orange County Justice Fund (OCJF) is dedicated to generating support for transformative and effective legal representation for some of the most vulnerable members of the Orange County community. OCJF was created in 2017 through a collaboration of attorneys, law professors, and grassroots leaders to ensure that no Orange County resident is forced to defend themself from deportation without an attorney, and to provide support so that those individuals eligible to be released from detention can do so without being financially devastated.
In the summer of 2017, the Santa Ana City Council, with supplemental funding from the Vera Institute of Justice, provided seed money for a pilot program that will enable an Orange County-based office to begin providing pro bono legal representation to Orange County residents facing deportation. Santa Ana is a member of Vera’s SAFE Cities Network, a national network of cities that have pledged support for deportation defense funds. Many core supporters of the OCJF—including law firm attorneys, bar association leaders, law professors, community organizers—advocated for the Santa Ana/Vera partnership. As a result, the Immigrant Defenders Law Center–a next-generation, social justice organization devoted to providing pro bono representation to immigrants in detention—opened its first Orange County office in late 2017.