For almost twenty years, the Immigration Legal Services Program of Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY-ILP) has been providing professional legal services to thousands of clients across the five boroughs of New York City, regardless of religious affiliation. The program offers free or low-cost legal immigration services to clients from over one hundred countries, as well as connecting clients to services that help them become self-sufficient in their new communities.
With a staff of three attorneys and one paralegal, LSSNY-ILP manages an active caseload of over 500 cases each year. LSSNY-ILP represents individuals and families in applications to the USCIS, and in immigration court for naturalization, work authorization, family reunification, and other forms of immigration relief. LSSNY-ILP also represents clients in humanitarian cases such as Asylum, Violence Against Women Act self-petitions, and others.
LSSNY-ILP has worked with Unaccompanied Minors‚ also known as Unaccompanied Alien Children‚ for over ten years. With the recent increase in unaccompanied minors, LSSNY-ILP has been ramping up their services to meet the needs of this population, and currently those children and their caretakers represent approximately a third of their consultations.
LSSNY-ILP could not do the work they do without the dedication of volunteers on all levels. The office recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono attorneys to take on additional cases, and also receive pro bono services from licensed physicians and mental health evaluators. While the staff speak several languages, including French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Gujarati, they rely on many volunteer translators and interpreters to facilitate client services and to ensure clients understand the proceedings.
This Wednesday, LSSNY-ILP will be hosting their annual benefit at the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. To keep the focus on immigrant children, the benefit will feature a screening of I Learn America, a film by French-born filmmaker Jean-Michel Dissard and education expert Gitte Peng, as well as a silent auction and drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Visit their website to learn more!