Adriel Orozco Headshot

Adriel Orozco

  • Hosted by New Mexico Immigrant Law Center
  • Sponsored by W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Service location Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Law school University of New Mexico School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program New Mexico Immigration Corps

The Project

Adriel increased access to legal services for low-income immigrants in underserved and rural communities in New Mexico through strategic collaboration with community partners.

New Mexico is a sparsely populated and impoverished state which prevents many communities across the state from accessing basic legal services. They are among the poorest of the working poor and foreign-born individuals are also less likely to graduate from high school, be employed in nonservice occupations, and be unemployed than native-born individuals. Moreover, many parents in immigrant families are not fluent in English, and are not familiar with their rights within American society. As a result, many immigrant parents do not take advantage of public support systems that are available to them, and they often fall victim to wage theft, consumer fraud, predatory lending or other predatory practices. To compound their problems, many immigrants in New Mexico live in communities without even one attorney. This project builds on state-wide immigrant integration efforts and addresses the lack of access to legal services by representing low-income immigrants in underserved areas of New Mexico and establishing strategic partnerships across the state.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Adriel has:

  • Provided direct representation to 42 clients on issues such as citizenship, green card renewals, removal defense, bond redeterminations, U Visas, T Visas, and family-based petitions.
  • Provided brief consultations to 390 individuals across New Mexico.
  • Provided educational presentations and outreach to 728 individuals about legal issues impacting immigrants, such as a settlement with the state regarding state income tax refunds, citizenship and immigration remedies.
  • Participated in more than 115 meetings to establish and to continue collaborations with 37 organizations, schools, and government agencies.

New Mexico Immigration Corps Overview

From 2016 to 2020, the New Mexico Immigration Corps deployed lawyers and paralegals to provide critically needed legal aid to immigrant children and families throughout New Mexico. A primary goal of the program was to create a pipeline of new and prospective lawyers from the immigrant community and communities of color into the public interest sector in New Mexico.

Throughout the four-year program, Fellows partnered with public interest programs at the University of New Mexico School of Law to create opportunities for law students interested in working with immigrant populations; collaborated to increase the representation of historically marginalized individuals in the legal profession; coordinated with pro bono attorneys interested in supporting low-income immigrants; and worked with community organizations to provide holistic services and support.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Adriel plans to:

  • Continue working at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center to address legal and policy issues impacting immigrants in New Mexico.
  • Continue to build an infrastructure that supports people of color and immigrants entering the legal profession.

Media

Establishing a Pipeline of Public Interest Attorneys in New Mexico to Support Immigrant Families

The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center has provided me many opportunities to grow and to give back to the immigrant community. The Fellowship included legal services and systemic advocacy, which allowed me to explore various aspects of the legal profession

Adriel Orozco /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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