Immigrant Connection provides church-based, low-cost immigration legal services in under-resourced communities. Immigrant Connection’s national office does this through two specific ways: 1. Expanding the existing Immigrant Connection Legal Network through launching new Immigrant Connection local sites in new communities and 2. Providing holistic, strategic support to existing Immigrant Connection sites so that all sites are healthy, build capacity, and reach sustainability. Through these two actions, Immigrant Connection is able to achieve an expanding collective impact and provide the highest quality of immigration legal services to local communities.
LOW-COST IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES
One of the biggest felt needs for immigrants and refugees is help in navigating our very complicated immigration legal system. Not only is that a felt need, but navigating this system successfully opens opportunities to take care of yourself and your family—and contribute to the success of the whole community. We are able to provide immigration legal services at a fraction of the cost someone would pay an attorney. Services that cost $3,000-$5,000+ with an attorney cost our clients only about $350. All of our legal representatives are accredited by the Department of Justice and have had the specific, focused education and experience to provide the highest quality of immigration legal services to clients.
Just like there are “food deserts” where a community doesn’t have access to a good grocery store, there are immigration legal service deserts. This might look like a rural area or small town where an immigrant would have to travel hundreds of miles to get legal assistance. It might look like a bigger city where a few legal centers might exist, but they have a six-month wait list because there are so many people who need those services. In a system where timeliness matters, this is a big deal! Immigrant Connection continues to expand into areas and regions with growing foreign-born populations that have limited or no access to immigration legal services.
At Immigrant Connection we believe that God has favorites, and one of His favorite groups is immigrants. We work as people motivated by God’s love for immigrants and His call to His Church to show that love through tangibly offering welcome and service. The benefits of being church-based are numerous. First, churches are trusted locations for many immigrants of many cultural backgrounds. Even if an immigrant doesn’t attend church or is of a different faith background, churches are known as safe places of refugee and hospitality in the community. Second, being church-based allows for better stewardship of financial resources. Other non-profit organizations that start low-cost immigration legal services offices usually need from $150,000-$500,000 to launch a new office. Immigrant Connection can launch a new church-based office for $30,000-$50,000 because being hosted in a church removes much of the overhead costs associated with running a legal office. Third, in a local church, these services take on a more holistic approach than it could in any other context; immigrants may come with a legal question but they also learn about opportunities to have other felt needs (food, housing, education, medical, etc) met as well.