Released Immigrant Families May Soon Relocate To An Area Near You. Can You Help?

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ASISTA is an organization dedicated to helping immigrant families that have survived domestic violence and sexual assault. Through education and counseling programs, ASISTA provides technical assistance for advocates and attorneys who face tremendous obstacles when dealing with immigration law.

“Immigrants are entitled to justice, including in the areas of domestic abuse or sexual assault. All immigrant survivors deserve access to essential services. Our goal is to enable service providers to offer accurate and up-to-date help to immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. (Source: ASISTA website

Immigration lawyers in Austin and surrounding areas may be able to help spread the word.

Migrants sit at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church temporary migrant shelter in McAllen, Texas, on June 27, 2014. (Photo : REUTERS/Stringer)

Co-founder Gail Pendleton is searching for people willing to help immigrant families that may soon be relocating to an area near you.

Immigrant families who were detained in various detention centers are being released and relocated around the country. We need your help to provide them with the services that they need to adjust, recover and pursue secure legal immigration status.

If you work in any of the locations listed below, please let us know if you can help, or have ideas of others in those areas who can help. The kind of help we need appears after the list of target areas.

The Primary Relocation Areas
Los Angeles
NYC (including New Jersey)
Houston
Miami
Baltimore/DC
Atlanta
North Carolina: Charlotte and Raleigh
Louisiana: Baton Rouge and New Orleans

What You Can Do to Help
The relocating families need pro bono/low-bono immigration legal representation, and many need domestic violence/sexual assault (DV/SA) support or other mental health services. We are seeking help from those of you in any of these fields. If you know of others who might be wiling to help, please pass this on.

The legal work may include doing intakes, assisting in extending work authorization, challenging long-term ankle-bracelet monitoring, exploring other forms of relief such as U visas or VAWA, or taking an asylum case in court. You need not commit to all of this; just helping with intake is a good start!

The DV/SA and mental health services needed include providing counseling, support services and therapy for women with histories of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other gender-based traumatic experiences, and mental health evaluations to support their immigration cases. Again, any help is welcome!

How We Can Help You
All of the work must be pro- or low-bono, since most former detained families have little or no money. We hope that those of you familiar with U visas and VAWAs, in particular, will join this effort, since you are familiar with working with survivors of gender-based violence and already partner with the other essential services survivors need. ASISTA will work with our partner agencies to ensure you receive the technical assistance and mentoring you need.

We are working with RAICES in Texas, with AILA’s national CARA project, and with Casa de Esperanza to coordinate this outreach. In addition, ASISTA, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) and the Tahirih Justice Center are developing a webinar training series on the legal aspects of DV asylum, especially designed for those of you who already work with survivors. The webinars will be free for those who agree to help.

Contacting Us
If you are willing to help, send an email to Gail Pendleton at [email protected] We will work with RAICES and CARA to connect you to families in your area that need help and to provide background information on the individual case situation.

Thank you for helping in this important project!


If you are in danger, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233