How To Obtain Legal Help
NMILC’s primary focus is to provide quality legal representation to particularly vulnerable individuals who would otherwise face a complex immigration process without assistance. NMILC is the only nonprofit organization in New Mexico who provides legal representation to individuals in removal proceeding and those seeking asylum. In addition, NMILC focuses on assisting particularly vulnerable populations who do not have access to services elsewhere. The types of cases where we may be able to provide low cost or pro bono services include:
- Removal proceedings. NMILC is the only non-profit in the state to provide deportation defense to individuals who are in proceedings at the immigration court in El Paso. We prioritize cases where individuals are facing separation from U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members and may be eligible for cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents, or who have relief available based on one of the types of cases below.
- Domestic violence and other crime victims. We assist individuals who are domestic violence or other crime survivors to remain in the United States. This includes individuals who are eligible for protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because they faced abuse by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parents, or adult child; crime victim survivors who have been helpful to law enforcement who are eligible for a U Visa; and survivors of human trafficking who are eligible for a T visa. We prioritize individuals at risk of deportation and those with more complex crime victim cases, and who therefore do not have other options for low cost or pro bono legal services.
- Abandoned, abused and neglected youth. We represent youth who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).
- Asylum. We assist individuals who are afraid to return to their home country because they face persecution or torture, in both affirmative cases and cases of individuals who are in removal proceedings.
- Young people brought to the United States as children. We assist young people who came to the United States as children and pursued educational opportunities or completed military service to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Our funding allows us to provide direct representation to individuals who are current or former students of South Valley Academy, ACE Leadership High School, and RFK Charter High School. We provide information to other eligible youth through workshops so that they can represent themselves.
- Family unity. We assist a limited number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who wish to petition for their family members who are abroad or who are already in the United States. Because our resources are limited, we do not handle fiancé visas, and we focus on providing representation to particularly vulnerable populations such as youth, elderly individuals, and persons with medical disabilities.
- Citizenship. We assist a limited number of individuals from particularly vulnerable populations to apply for naturalization or obtain proof of their citizenship.
What types of cases does NMILC not handle?
NMILC is not able to assist individuals who are seeking help with:
- Employment-based cases
- Nonimmigrant visas such as tourist or student visas
- Fiancé visas
Am I eligible for NMILC’s services?
In order to be eligible to receive services from NMILC, you must:
- Have a type of case that NMILC handles, as explained above;
- Be a resident of New Mexico; and
- Your income must be at or below 200% of the poverty guidelines.
How do I become a client of NMILC?
In order to become a client of NMILC, you must first call our office for an initial screening. Each week, NMILC attorneys provide free legal consultations during telephone consultation hours. During the consultation, the attorney will provide basic legal advice and either set up a follow-up consultation, or provide referrals to other legal service providers. Please call our office to find out what our current schedule is for telephonic legal consultations.
Can I just write an email or stop by your office to see if you will take my case?
Our staff is limited, and so unfortunately we are not able to accept walk-ins or provide legal advice by email. Please call our office during our telephone consultation hours to see if we are able to assist you.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Legal Fairs and Workshops
As many as 10,000 youth in New Mexico may qualify for DREAMer Deferred Action protection.
We do not recommend that community members file an application for this program until after they have consulted with an attorney or a representative accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals. NMILC holds free monthly workshops to help individuals to represent themselves after they have been carefully screened by an NMILC attorney. At NMILC s monthly legal workshops, individuals have an opportunity to learn about the Deferred Action (DACA) program, verify eligibility, and fill out the necessary forms. After the group session, a volunteer attorney reviews the forms and supporting documents of each participant.
Our workshops are limited to 10 people and are by appointment only. If you would like to participate in a workshop, please call our office during telephone consultation hours to speak with an NMILC attorney to determine whether a workshop is the right fit for your situation.
Education for Community Members
Acting on incorrect immigration law information is a common cause for complications among low income immigrants. In order to prevent the necessity of full representation in the first place, NMILC provides accurate information about immigration law to New Mexico’s immigrant communities through dozens of educational events held each year across the state. If you would like NMILC to come and speak about immigration and related legal issues to your group, please contact us.
Education and Technical Assistance for Service Providers
NMILC conducts workshops and provides technical assistance to organizations that assist New Mexico’s low income immigrants. NMILC has conducted trainings for a wide variety of service providers, including educators, social workers, health a professionals, domestic violence prevention program staff, and staff of agencies working to assist with employment. We also provide technical assistance to individual service providers who need help with a specific immigration law issue. If you would like to arrange to have NMILC provide an information session or technical assistance on relevant laws or issues, please call us at (505) 247-1023. Service providers are also encouraged to provide their clients with information on how to become a client of NMILC.