- Office of the Attorney General
- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG Campbell Distributes $780,000 For Immigrant Legal Services Grant Program
Ella Hamilton, Press Assistant
BOSTON — Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has awarded $780,000 to 13 non-profit legal service organizations as part of her Immigrant Legal Services Grant Program. The grant recipients will receive funding to provide legal services in all 14 Massachusetts counties to recently arrived immigrants to help them access immigration relief and work authorization.
“Our recent arrivals who are lawfully paroled into this country and eligible for work authorization and other immigration relief, want nothing more than to work to support their families,” said AG Campbell. “With this grant, we aim to help organizations on the ground that are working hard to provide vital legal services to newly arrived immigrants. While we could not fund all organizations, I am grateful to all organizations that do this work, and proud to partner with our grant recipients to protect and support immigrants in Massachusetts.”
This grant program will fund capacity-building activities, including the implementation of new technology solutions or upgrades to case management systems, leveraging relationships with law schools, law firms, shelters, and community-based organizations, providing clinics o to help new arrivals access immigration-related legal relief, and equipping staff with mobile workspace supplies and equipment.
Following a robust review process, the following organizations were selected by the AG’s Office to receive funding:
Berkshire Immigrant Center (Berkshire County)
Funding will be used to address the systemic social and legal problems that affect low-income immigrant populations, with the goal of decreasing the gaps in immigration screening and possible legal representation for those with trauma. They will provide free consultation legal clinics to individuals seeking immigration relief and work authorization, as well as cover actual costs incurred when attorneys take on a case. They will partner with Volunteers in Medicine to identify new arrivals through their patient network to allocate available spots in legal clinics. They plan to organize and host up to six clinics to provide a one-stop service opportunity for new arrivals, as well as invite other social service agencies to participate and address the needs of new arrivals, including resources related to housing, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River, MA Inc. (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket and Plymouth Counties)
The grant will be used by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fall River (CCFR) to fund two part-time staff members, one DOJ-accredited representative and one multilingual administrative assistant who will also provide interpreter services, in addition to providing transportation and translation for clients. CCFR will work with community-based organizations to host legal clinics and presentations for new arrivals, educate at least 50 housing and social service providers on common immigration issues for new arrivals, provide transportation for individuals with immigration appointments, and accept at least 25 new full representation cases.
Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands (Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket Counties)
Through this grant, Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands (CACCI) proposes to host 20 clinics for new migrants to Cape Cod and the Islands, projecting free legal services to 300 households over the grant period. These funds will increase capacity to hire a part-time case manager for this project and increase the current 1.5 full time employee case manager hours. Additionally, funds will be used to engage translators from the immigrant community to assist in the clinics, offering stipends for their time, and provide transportation for migrants to and from the clinics as the Cape’s public transport systems are limited. The clinics will provide initial consultations, application assistance and screen for other immigration relief.
Community Legal Aid (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Worcester Counties)
With the funding, Community Legal Aid will subgrant to its wholly owned subsidiary, Central West Justice Center (CWJC), which provides humanitarian immigration assistance to immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and other crimes, unaccompanied children, and refugees fleeing violence. CWJC will use funds to hire a paralegal to coordinate legal clinics for new arrivals to Central and Western Massachusetts and will purchase 2-in-1 tablet/laptops and mobile hotspots for use at clinics and shelter site visits. The new paralegal will take over the planning and logistics of brief service clinics to increase capacity, help more individuals, and provide a greater depth of services.
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Inc (Essex, Middlesex Counties)
Through the funding, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) will take a two-pronged approach to capacity building. Firstly, GLCAC proposes building internal capacity of ILS to better meet the complex needs of underserved immigrant populations by hiring two additional culturally competent staff, a barred attorney, and a paralegal. Through the additional two staff, GLCAC plans to identify additional translation services, perform outreach to individuals in shelters, conduct Know Your Rights presentations, provide consultation clinics, and refer clients to additional wrap-around services through their network of community-based organizations. Secondly, GLCAC proposes to build external capacity to improve area providers’ knowledge about ILS for new arrivals focusing on training staff actively providing services to new arrivals at shelter locations to mitigate the potential negative effects of false legal information. GLCAC plans to strengthen regional referral networks for new arrivals and prevent potential ramifications for untrained providers assisting immigrants with legal services.
Immigrant Family Services Institute (Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties)
With funding from the AGO, Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) will increase staff capacity and access to upgraded case management systems to respond to the increased need of immigrants in these communities. IFSI will also focus on expanding existing partnerships with local volunteer groups, universities, and law schools to recruit volunteers.
Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (Statewide)
Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) will use the funding for a legal information helpline to provide assistance to service providers and advocates who may have questions about basic immigration law as they help immigrants in shelters across the state. Grant funding will be used to hire a helpline manager/staff attorney to oversee the helpline during business hours and ensure that service providers are receiving timely, accurate information.
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (Statewide)
With the funding, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI), a nationally-recognized statewide poverty law and policy center, proposes to serve as a network convenor of the grantees under this grant award, similar to the role they play for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Fund (MILAF) and the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund (GBIDF) grants, convening regular meetings of the grantees, bridging to ORI-funded grantees, and serving as a liaison for the network of immigration agencies on issues that arise for grantees. MLRI would also curate a bank of best practices legal assistance materials already developed by national and local organizations and adapt them for standardized use by all grantees on this grant. Funding will pay for part of two employees’ time on the project and translation of appropriate program materials for advocates and clients.
MetroWest Legal Services (Middlesex and Norfolk Counties)
This grant will allow MetroWest Legal Services (MWLS) to purchase technology to assist in providing immigration legal services to new arrivals who are placed in shelter in area motels and hotels, including six tablets to gather documentation and file applications, and a projector and screen to provide community legal education. MWLS recently received funding from ORI to provide immigration legal assistance to new arrivals, predominantly from Haiti, who are being sheltered in motels and hotels in its service area. MWLS is already working with or have requests for assistance from numerous hotels in Framingham, Marlborough, Hudson, and Foxborough.
Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, Inc. (Statewide)
With the funding, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) will expand its community engagement Know Your Rights Education Initiative. The Know Your Rights training is often a gateway to immigrants receiving legal counsel, and PAIR anticipates providing 30 trainings in public schools, community centers, library, religious institutions, and emergency assistance shelters in order to better connect individuals and families with their pro bono legal services. In addition, funds will be used for PAIR’s Language Access Fund, allowing PAIR to meaningfully conduct legal education workshops and share legal updates to those who seek help with professional interpretation and translation services in eight languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Arabic, and French.
Rian Immigrant Center (Statewide)
Rian will use its grant funding to support the purchase and installation of a new client management platform, which will allow Rian’s Immigration Legal Services team to increase its efficiency and effectiveness, especially with regard to new arrival clinic management.
South Coastal Counties Legal Services (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, Plymouth and Norfolk Counties)
South Costal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS), through its subsidiary the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, will use the funding to enhance its technological capabilities to expand internal capacity to assist more new arrivals. The funds will allow SCCLS to acquire timesaving immigration forms software that pre-populates biographic fields, simultaneous interpretation equipment to improve know-your-rights presentations, and portable equipment to streamline administrative tasks on site at shelters and clinics.
Student Clinic for Immigration Justice (Middlesex, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties)
With the funding, Student Clinic for Immigration Justice (SCIJ) will train a new cohort of students to provide pro bono legal support to asylum seekers, expanding SCIJ’s capacity and strengthening ability to provide legal assistance. SCIJ will train 30-45 students in community organizing and immigration law, particularly focused on students of color, immigrant or first-generation students and gender-diverse students, who will work on 15-35 pro bono asylum cases with immigration attorneys and organizing with partners.