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Immigration Services: How the Dallas Attorney Can Help

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 12:06 -- admin25

Staff Report

How can you—Dallas attorney—help immigrants and unaccompanied minors who are impacted as a result of the ongoing changes with immigration and international laws? We have compiled four local services with which you should start:

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities Dallas, Immigration Legal Services supports our immigrant community with visa petitions and removal defense. We have a team dedicated to providing legal orientations at the Prairieland Detention Center almost every weekday. For those detainees who qualify for a form of relief, our team assists them in acquiring a pro bono attorney for representation. Our Program also represents immigrant children applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. If you are an attorney who is interested in representing low-income immigrant families, we have opportunities for representing children in Family Court, adult detainees in Bond Redetermination Proceedings, and adults and children in Immigration Court. Pro bono attorneys will receive training in immigration law and will be mentored by Catholic Charities staff attorneys throughout the duration of the representation. Additionally, our Program hosts weekly workshops where we assist Lawful Permanent Residents apply for U.S. citizenship. These workshops are held every Friday and the first Saturday of each month, where attorneys will have the opportunity to complete applicants’ citizenship forms. Also, if you speak any foreign languages, your services would be greatly appreciated in translating certain legal documents. If you are interested in helping our immigrant community as a pro bono attorney in court, please contact Carolina Rivera at crivera@ccdallas.org. If you are interested in volunteering at our citizenship workshops, please contact Jessica Hernandez at jhernandez@ccdallas.org.

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas

Since 1999, Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc. has provided free legal services to vulnerable immigrants, through our award winning pro bono model. All of our clients are under 150 percent of poverty guidelines. Our clients come from all over the world. We do this in three programs. Each of these programs is staffed by a designated attorney who is tasked with supporting our pro bono volunteer lawyers. In FY18, 250 volunteer attorneys donated over 5,700 hours of service.

  1. Asylum. We represent individuals in Defensive (Immigration Court) and Affirmative (the Asylum Office) cases, individuals with a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group. A typical client is a pro-democracy activist, a journalist, a persecuted LBGT individual, or survivor of domestic violence.
  2. Children’s Program. For over 10 years HRI has been providing legal services to unaccompanied minors in their applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas. Part of the case is in Family Court. The other is administrative. A typical client is from Central American, abused abandoned or neglected by one or both parents, coming from countries plagued by gang violence.
  3. Crime Victims United States law provides protection to men, women, and children who have escaped abuse or is a survivor of violent crime. We represent clients with their U Visas and VAWA cases. This is perfect for attorneys who do not want to go to court.

How you can help: Most of our volunteers are not immigration attorneys. We work with corporate legal departments, sole practitioners, major law firms, and attorneys who are not actively practicing. Call us to find out when our next CLE is or when we can do a CLE for your firm. Contact our volunteer coordinator Layne Faulkner at lfaulkner@hrionline.org.

Mosaic Family Services

Mosaic Family Services is a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses, including human trafficking and domestic violence. With a multicultural staff and comprehensive services, Mosaic reaches over 25,000 people annually in direct services and outreach. Our clients’ needs are met in one safe place: they receive free shelter, legal representation, counseling, education and support services in more than 25 languages. A part of Mosaic’s comprehensive services for over fifteen years, Mosaic’s Multicultural Legal Services Program specializes in the provision of both family and immigration representation to survivors of family violence and in comprehensive screening and civil legal services for survivors of human trafficking. Mosaic has a long history of specialization in applications with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for relief for victims of gender-based crimes and human trafficking. We particularly rely on pro bono assistance to meet the demand from eligible survivors of family violence and sexual assault to file VAWA self-petitions, petitions for U Visas, and related applications. In addition, we have many survivors of human trafficking who have received their T visa and may be eligible to adjust status and receive their green cards at any time.

How can you help? Mosaic offers a number of manuals, templates, and trainings (both webinars and periodic live trainings) for interested attorneys. We further offer opportunities to tailor the level of responsibility for an application or sections of an application, and final Mosaic staff review prior to filing. Thanks to pro bono attorneys, Mosaic is able to significantly expand its services to survivors to meet the high demand for its specialized legal services. For more information please contact Alison Maher at alisonm@mosaicservices.org.

RAICES

RAICES is a non-profit immigration organization that has been in Dallas since 2014, but has been in existence throughout various cities in Texas since the 1980s. RAICES offices provide direct representation to children and families detained at various immigration detentions or shelters in Texas, as well as representation after release from detention. RAICES also seeks to protect the rights of the immigrant community via “Know Your Rights presentations” at community forums, such as churches, schools, and media interviews. Additionally, RAICES’ advocacy teams build community connections and work closely with local organizations to give the immigrant community a voice. Many of our clients here in Dallas are minors who have arrived to the United States on their own, seeking refuge from abandonment, abuse, neglect, persecution, attacks, and threats of death. RAICES offices assist our young clients to navigate the complicated immigration system and present their immigration claim.

So, how can you help RAICES? Besides financial donations (www.raicestexas.org/donate/), we need help increasing legal representation through pro bono attorneys. There are many ways to give our clients a voice and an opportunity for their immigration claim to be heard:

  • Representing families and children in Immigration Court in applying for Asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, humanitarian visas, family-based petitions, or briefing in support of cases;
  • Representing children in family court proceedings;
  • Helping gather supporting documents and briefing for Immigration Court;
  • Attending and assisting in immigration clinics, such as Asylum, Naturalization, DACA, etc.;
  • Representing RAICES in tabling and community events.

For further information, log on to www.raicestexas.org, or contact Priscilla Villarreal, Pro Bono Attorney Coordinator at (469) 250-6709 or priscilla.villarreal@raicestexas.org; or Felix Villalobos, Managing Attorney, at (214) 206-9263 or felix.villalobos@raicestexas.org.

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