Across the state of New York, immigrants struggle to access the legal assistance they need to protect their families and build a better life in our communities. In January 2018, Equal Justice Works launched the New York State Family Security Project (NYSFSP), a Fellowship program aimed at delivering legal services to immigrant families, specifically in areas outside of New York City where legal aid is more difficult to access.
During the one-year program, 13 NYSFSP Legal Fellows and 38 law students achieved results toward capacity-building at their host organizations, including expanding a range of legal services available to immigrants. NYSFSP Legal Fellows and law students provided immigrants with legal consultations and screenings, representation in deportation proceedings, and help with filing immigration applications for naturalization, employment authorization, and permanent residence.
Collectively, NYSFSP participants conducted 277 community outreach and educational activities, performed 1,548 legal screenings, and provided direct representation to 1,263 individuals.
A Fellow and law student team at Journey’s End Refugee Services collaborated on an asylum case on behalf of a woman, who was seeking safety from persecution in her home country due to her LGBTQ+ status. The team developed strong corroborating evidence that helped get her asylum application approved.
At Unlocal, one law student under attorney supervision worked on an asylum application on behalf of a man who feared return to his home country after suffering persecution and being sexually assaulted because of his gender identity. Throughout the process, the law student assisted with client interviews, gathered supporting documents for the application, and accompanied the client to his interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Officer. The client’s asylum application was approved weeks later, and he was able to obtain work authorization and remain in the United States.
With the growing climate of fear in immigrant communities and the ever-changing maze of complex immigration laws, access to immigration legal services is more important than ever. Learn more about specific NYSFSP Fellowship projects here, and see the other Fellows who are working tirelessly to meet the legal needs of low-income immigrants across our country.
The New York State Family Security Project was supported by the New York State Commission on National and Community Service, as well as match funding from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, individual donors, and host site contributions.