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Immigration & Naturalization Law

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How to Get Immigration Assistance for Little or No Cost

A good attorney is important to a positive outcome in many legal proceedings. While that is true in most areas of the law, it is especially important in the field of immigration law. Some immigrants who are seeking to lawfully remain in the United States are indigent and lack the resources to hire a private attorney. Likewise, some immigrants are not familiar with immigration law and the American court system.

Where to Find Help

There are several different types of agencies that might be able to assist immigrants for little or no cost. These types of organizations include:
  • Charitable Organizations: Some groups, such as Catholic Charities, provide free or low cost legal representation to those looking to live legally in the United States.
  • Community Legal Services Groups: These groups include local community legal service groups such as Greater Boston Legal Services and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. They provide immigration assistance as well as other legal aid to qualifying individuals.
  • Legal Advocacy Projects: There are a number of legal advocacy projects that focus solely on immigration and asylum matters. Two examples of these types of organizations include the Florida Immigration Advocacy Center and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona.
  • Law Schools: Some law schools have immigration law clinics where law students are able to represent immigrants free of charge. The law students are closely supervised by experienced law school faculty. Many, but not all, of these programs are closed or are available only on a limited basis during the summer months.
  • Private attorneys: Some private attorneys are willing to accept immigration cases pro bono. Many attorneys do a certain amount of pro bono work each year in a variety of fields because they are looking to give back to the community or because they are looking for experience in a particular field.
What Kind of Help Is Available
Individuals and organizations that chose to offer free or low cost services are able to put limitations on their services. Therefore, each individual and organization can decide which services they are willing to offer so long as they do so in a nondiscriminatory manner. For example, they may decide whether or not they will represent criminal aliens but they may not decide to represent female criminal aliens but not male criminal aliens. 
Since each individual and organization can decide what services they want to offer, it is useful to ask the following questions of any attorney with whom you might wish to work, as they are applicable to your situation:
  • Do you represent criminal aliens?
  • Do you charge and if so, what are your fees?
  • Do you speak any languages other than English?
  • Do you represent aliens in asylum?
  • Do you represent undocumented aliens?
  • Are there any other limitations on your representation?
Many individuals have just once chance to remain in the United States legally. A skilled attorney is, therefore, important to make sure that they have every chance to succeed in the quest to remain in the United States. If attorney’s fees are out of reach for a person wishing to remain in the country then a low cost or free attorney may be available to assist in immigration matters.