Who We Are
NMILC is incorporated in the State of New Mexico, and is recognized by the IRS as a §501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and not a private foundation.
Founded in 2010, the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center is dedicated to preventing separation of families due to deportation. In addition to ensuring family unity, we seek to strengthen immigrant families by advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. We envision a New Mexico in which all people – regardless of their race, immigration, or economic status – have equal access to justice, as well as access to education, government resources, and economic opportunities, and are able to engage fully in the civic and economic life of our neighborhoods and community.
Access to high-quality immigration services provided by NMILC enables immigrants to obtain legal status that can lead to better jobs, access to credit and bank accounts, reunification with family members, access to healthcare, increased educational opportunities for children and adults, and full participation in the civic life of our neighborhoods and communities. While gaining immigration status brings a certain level of economic and family stability, naturalization creates opportunities for newcomers to fully participate in the civic life of their communities.
NMILC was created with the support of many New Mexico immigrant-based organizations concerned about the gaps in legal services for immigrants, especially those facing family separation due to deportation. In 2007, Jennifer Landau, one of NMILC’s co-founders, was awarded a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship to help address the lack of legal services for low income New Mexicans facing deportation. Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services of El Paso served as the initial host for project operations in Central New Mexico. When the fellowship came to an end, Enlace Comunitario, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos and Southwest Creations, and the Jesuits of Albuquerque came together to continue the legal services in tandem with the newly formed immigrant community organization, Encuentro. Enlace Comunitario initially housed the project until the new location for Encuentro was ready in the historic Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque. In 2010 co-founders Megan Jordi and Jennifer Landau formed an advisory group and incorporated NMILC with the generous support of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty as our fiscal sponsor.
In just three years’ time, we have become a leader in deportation defense, asylum, and humanitarian defense for survivors of crimes and children. We have served hundreds of New Mexican families, trained law students and volunteer attorneys, and presented at numerous public events and Continuing Legal Education programs. We have built a team of four attorneys, full-time Jesuit Volunteer Corps and Public Allies volunteers, numerous law and Latin American studies interns, and community volunteers.
While gaining immigration status and citizenship remove a critical economic and social barrier for immigrant families, we work on collaborative efforts to provide bundled services in tandem with community partners that address other barriers to increasing earning and asset development for immigrant families. With this strategy we are able to have a greater impact on the families that we collectively serve.
Because we recognize the legal needs of immigrant families are intertwined with social service, health, and educational barrier, we have Pathways Navigators that assist our clients with psychosocial, medical, economic, and educational barriers by connecting them to existing services and support networks in the community
Because we are the only legal service provider in the state to offer assistance to families facing deportation, the need for our services has been tremendous. We have discovered that many of the families facing deportation would have been on a path to citizenship if they had proper legal information when they were children. As a result, we developed a preventative legal model working in strategic partnership with schools and organizations that provide social and medical services to immigrant children and their families. Our goal is to expand access to education and services.