grandfather.jpg
 
 

Our Impact in 2018

Welcoming Immigrants Through Legal Services.

 
 

We serve real people, with real issues, who need our help. Each story is different; each life changes in its own way. Here are some of the big-picture impacts we have achieved through our work in Michigan.

 

“On July 30, 2018 I became a citizen of the United States of America… It has been a process that took almost 5 years and I often felt weary. I know that my family could not have navigated this process without all of your help.”

— Client from South Africa

 

We Changed Many Lives in 2018

 
 

Have you ever played the children’s game called “Chutes and Ladders?” The goal is simple: climb from the bottom of the game board to the top. If you land on a ladder, you can accelerate your climb by skipping steps. If you land on a chute, however, you slide backwards.

Becoming a documented American resident bears a lot of resemblance to this game of chance. Some situations (such as ethnic violence or marrying a citizen) might offer you a faster rise to success. But regardless of your circumstances, one false move…one wrong form or incorrect answer…sends you tumbling backwards.

Unfortunately, the “game board” for documented U.S. residency is not clearly marked. The rules are dense and complex. It’s expensive to navigate the process. The cost skyrockets if you make mistakes. And it can take years, if not decades, to work your way through the process.

So why do people attempt to navigate this dangerous and confusing path? They’re pursuing the American dream. Some are running from political oppression, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, domestic violence, starvation or war. Others are trying to reunite families, extend a visa to live here permanently, or get a job. Regardless of why they are on the path, they need help. Many of them are poor beyond imagining and don’t have the resources to hire professional help. Others may have means, but have difficulty finding a trustworthy advisor.

We provide the critical legal assistance that aspiring residents need but usually cannot afford or access. In this way, they can make the best possible decisions for their own welfare and that of their family.

 

250+

volunteers

600+

personal consultations

 

4,400

people reached through speaking engagements

50+

events

 
 

Our Most Common Types of Cases

You may be wondering why an immigrant would need legal assistance. These are the most common types of services we provide.

 
 

Work Authorization: these cases enable eligible immigrants to receive authorization to work in the U.S. by obtaining a work permit. Though most cannot apply for permanent legal status, they are allowed to work here and contribute to their families and communities.

Family Unification: these cases allow families to reunite after long separation, or to stay united. This includes helping refugees apply for green cards, as well as enabling spouses, parents, children and siblings to live in the United States permanently and lawfully.

Escape Violence: these cases include individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. due to fear of persecution in their home countries. They also include people (mostly women) who experience domestic violence and who can apply to remain in the U.S. without being dependent on their abuser.

Citizenship: this involves cases for immigrants who are eligible to obtain U.S. citizenship. Not all immigrants are eligible, and many must wait years. Citizenship enables immigrants to vote, to petition for family members to join them here, and to access the benefits afforded to other Americans.

Advice and Counsel: we help immigrants understand their options under the law. We provide peace of mind by laying out the options in a safe environment, protecting them from scams and those who make false promises. Some of the clients we see for this reason are referred to other organizations, while others do not have any legal options. However, we accept many of them for additional representation to achieve the kinds of outcomes listed above.

882 Cases

 
 

Get involved in our mission!

 
green.jpg