We have a great need for volunteer work by attorneys and other legal professionals who can help us maximize our resources. When an attorney agrees to take on a case with NMILC, the relationship does not end there. We provide ongoing technical assistance and language support for pro bono cases. In addition, NMILC’s malpractice insurance covers attorneys who are volunteering for us.
If you are interested in offering your services, or would like to learn more about pro bono opportunities, please fill out this form.
Representing Youth Who Have Been Abandoned, Neglected, or Abused in State Court
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a status available to some young people and provides a path to lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) for that child. In order to be eligible for SIJS, the child must be subject to a predicate order from a state court in which the court finds that the child has been abandoned, abused, or neglected by one or both parents.
We rely on assistance from pro bono attorneys who are willing to represent the petitioner in state court proceedings. These cases most often include sole custody, dissolution of marriage, kinship/guardianship and emancipation proceedings. Typically, these are default cases, and they often do not require a hearing. Each case takes between 10 and 30 hours on average.
Helping Survivors of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Other Serious Crimes
NMILC seeks volunteer attorneys to assist our clients in filing for U nonimmigrant status (the U visa). NMILC currently has dozens of survivors of domestic violence and other serious crimes who are waiting for services. To qualify for a U visa, an applicant must show that she has been helpful to law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime and that she has been substantially harmed, either emotionally or physically, by the crime. U nonimmigrant status puts the client on the path to obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency (a “green card”).
Working on a U visa case consists of obtaining certification from law enforcement or another government official that the victim is cooperative, gathering evidence that the victim suffered abuse and was the victim of a crime, and submitting forms and documentation to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. These cases are adjudicated through a review of the documentation. There is no hearing or interview for these applications, so it can be a particularly good case for someone who does not wish to participate in litigation. We estimate that in most cases, a U visa case takes about 20 hours to prepare depending on the complexity of the case.
Providing Assistance at Events
NMILC hosts larger community events where we need volunteers, such as group processing events for citizenship. We expect to have an increased need for community events to provide immigrants with life-planning documents to have on hand in the event that they are suddenly detained or deported to plan for the care of children and management of financial affairs. We need assistance at our workshops, which occur weekly on Wednesday afternoons, as well as periodic larger events. These volunteer opportunities are appropriate for both attorneys and paralegals.
Help Immigrants in Your Area of Expertise
In conjunction with other community organizations, NMILC is developing a network of attorneys with a wide range of expertise whose work intersects with issues of importance to immigrants. These attorneys could act as a resource for other attorneys or provide consultations to community members as needed. We are particularly looking for people who can advise on employment law, powers of attorney and other life-planning documents in case of deportation, and civil rights. Please let us know if you have expertise in another area of the law and you are willing to share your knowledge.
If you are interested in assisting us in these or any other areas, please fill out this form and someone will be in touch shortly.