“It is extremely important that AI Justice exists to help potential victims of human rights abuses like myself.”
AI Justice’s Asylum, Residency & Citizenship Program provides free legal assistance to vulnerable immigrants who cannot afford to hire an attorney, including people fleeing persecution, those with precedent-setting legal cases, and families at risk of separation. Our attorneys and specially-certified paralegals represent clients before the Asylum office, Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Staff provide training and technical assistance to other advocates nationwide who seek our expertise.
AI Justice also advocates to protect immigrants’ basic rights and to ensure current policies and practices are fairly implemented at local, regional and national levels. Over the years, staff has helped thousands of asylum seekers and others obtain permanent residency and citizenship. The team are experts in the particular laws governing Cuban and Haitian immigrants and represent clients in all steps toward naturalization. Additionally, AI Justice has successfully pushed USCIS to follow its own rules regarding complicated naturalization issues including the process for disabled and oftentimes elderly immigrants.
AI Justice is at the forefront of advocacy for Haitians and the fight for fair treatment. Staff played a key role to ensure that Haitians eligible for Temporary Protected Status nationwide received effective representation and the program was fairly implemented. AI Justice staff held trainings for hundreds of advocates to help them assist TPS applicants. These trainings were a model nationwide. AI Justice filed a federal lawsuit compelling ICE to release documents regarding the swift resumption of deportations after the 2010 earthquake that left the country in shambles.
DREAMers, young people brought to this country as undocumented children, have been a particular focus. In 2010 AI Justice presented written testimony to the U.S. Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security at a hearing on the DREAM Act. In 2012, AI Justice staff collaborated with immigrant students, Florida International University’s Immigration Law Clinic, and other groups to create a model legal clinic for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applicants to get pro bono help completing their application. Nearly 1,000 Dreamers received assistance, completing their applications and compiling documentation over the course of five DACA clinics led by FIU and AI Justice.