[UPDATE: Following the Department of Justice’s announced plans to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Avvo has launched a free hotline (1-888-380-4056, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST) for DACA program recipients facing legal issues and questions. The DACA program closes its renewal application window on October 5, 2017. Meanwhile, if you are concerned about new Trump Administration policies regarding immigration—or any other legal topic—you can ask a question anonymously and have it answered, for free, by an attorney in our Q&A forum, or get more information on the Avvo immigration page.]
With the possibility of a wall being constructed on our Mexican border, and the Trump Administration imposing new immigration restrictions, access to immigration-related legal information can be crucial right now.
The following is a list of 10 independent, non-profit organizations that can offer support, resources, and/or legal guidance, as well as volunteering opportunities for those looking to get involved more directly. Note that this is only a partial list; there are many other organizations that can help with immigration questions and issues, including a large number of city and town-specific groups. State government websites are often a good place to start.
Please do add any additional resources or institutions in comments, and we’ll continue to update this post.
International Rescue Committee – With locations all over the world, including in 29 American cities, the IRC’s mission is “to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their lives.” In response to President Trump’s executive order, they are currently working to bridge anticipated federal funding gaps in housing, health care, and other immigration services.
Vida Americana – A Spanish-language site offering everything from basic immigration info to detailed, up-to-date guidance on work visas, green cards (permanent residence), amnesty and immigrant visas.
United We Dream – Huge youth-led organization with over 100,000 immigrant youths and allies and 55 affiliate organizations across 26 states. Site contains broad information and opportunities for advocacy, as well as tactical information on protecting yourself in the event of an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid.
Families For Freedom – This site contains deportation defense resources that are designed to help noncitizens and their families who are in immediate danger, with a hotline telephone number and concrete, tactical strategies.
Welcoming America – Taking a hyper-local approach, Welcoming America leverages a large (150+) network of communities to help residents prosper by fully participating in economic, social, and civic opportunities, while reducing barriers to participation for immigrants and refugees.
US Committee For Refugees And Immigrants – Large organization with services that include health care, access to human services, educational resources, and legal representation.
HIAS – This Jewish-led advocacy group has grown into an international resource for immigrants and refugees, with services that include record searches, citizenship prep, as well as legal protection and finding training/employment opportunities.
Immigration Advocates Nonprofit Resource Center – Informational resource with podcasts, webinars, and an extensive directory of local agencies, searchable by an interactive map which you can also sort by detention facility.
ACLU – Their immigrants’ rights page is especially relevant for those seeking information, with blogs, videos, and current court cases related to immigration.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network – “Embracing the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger,” CLINIC features an extensive network of programs, and focuses on the most vulnerable groups, including dislocated families and victims of trafficking and/or domestic violence.
The Public Law Center – This pro bono law firm provides access to justice for low-income and vulnerable residents in the Orange County area. Access California, focusing on Arab-American and Muslim-American communities, provides another option in the state.
You can also ask questions anonymously and get answers from actual attorneys, for free, in the Avvo Q&A forum, or make use of Avvo’s immigration attorney directory.
Thanks for sharing this list, Matthew. While the refugee experience by nature is a difficult under any circumstances, it's got to be exceptionally scary in this current political climate. Folks reading your article in Orange County California might be interested in looking up the Public Law Center, or Access California.
Thanks for the tip!