How Larry’s Legacy Carries Us Forward in a Time of Uncertainty

Portrait photo of Larry. He is smiling with his hands clasped on the table.
Portrait photo of Larry. He is smiling with his hands clasped on the table.

“We are committed to using the law as an instrument for social change to make the world a fair place for people with disabilities. We are focused on changing institutions and the entire fabric of American society so that people with disabilities have a fair shot at being full participants.”

– Larry Paradis, DRA Co-founder, 2016

Now, as a global pandemic sweeps across American society, as institutions collapse, as people with disabilities face isolation, gaps in critical services, and voids in life-preserving resources, DRA is called to task.

Thanks to our founders’ vision and foresight, DRA is uniquely poised with the grit and know-how to fight and win the critical battles of this moment for people with disabilities.

Many of you have, since Larry’s passing in 2016, contributed to the Larry Paradis Legacy Fund. This Fund was designed to support high risk, high impact cases to be carried out in Larry’s honor. Cases that:

  • Protect the underserved,
  • Forge new legal ground, and
  • Where the impact is CRITICAL

We’re proud to share that DRA’s board just approved using DRA’s Legacy Fund to cover the costs of an urgent case that fits these criteria to a T.

Filed by DRA and partners in August of 2019, Fraihat v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) challenged ICE’s systemic failure to monitor its facilities resulting in routine discrimination of detainees in the form of arbitrary and punitive isolation, improper medical screenings, delayed and denied medical care, and denial of reasonable accommodations including interpreters, hearing aids, and mobility devices.

There are nearly 40,000 immigrants currently being held across 121 ICE detention facilities. DRA’s clients have a range of serious medical and mental health conditions including cerebral palsy, diabetes, chronic pain, hypertension, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Some are lawful permanent residents or longtime U.S. residents and others have arrived more recently to seek asylum after fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. These individuals, many who have traveled lawfully to avail themselves of our nation’s asylum laws, are detained by ICE and subjected daily to horrific, inhumane, punitive, and unlawful conditions.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 made a terrible situation for our clients much worse. Conditions including over-crowded enclosures and lack of soap and hand sanitizer are medically dangerous and fail to meet standard public health recommendations. These conditions place detainees, especially those with disabilities, in imminent danger of infection and death.

On March 25th, 2020 DRA and our partners filed an emergency application for preliminary injunction seeking a court order requiring that ICE take immediate steps to protect people in immigration detention facilities from COVID-19.

This case is urgent, it forges new legal ground, it benefits some of our nation’s most vulnerable, it will be resource intensive, and WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU.

Your contributions help cover the cost of critical experts, attorneys, and other legal resources at a time when DRA needs it most.

On behalf of our clients, THANK YOU for supporting DRA’s Larry Paradis Legacy Fund and enabling DRA to do what we do best: changing the fabric of American society so that people with disabilities have a fair shot at being full participants.