Many thousands of immigrants and their families in Collier County are in crisis over legal issues affecting their status and an uncertain future which has made them highly fearful about things we all take for granted, such as safety, meeting basic needs, and raising and caring for family members. The scope and magnitude of the crisis is great, with ramifications affecting everyone living in our community.
When vulnerable people with legal needs operate out of fear, they are often exploited or fail to take action within their rights to protect themselves and maintain the ability to care for those they love, such as children and elderly parents. Others act in reliance on bad information, misinformation, or outdated information. These dynamics harm and disrupt families, businesses, our local economy, and the entire community.
The rules, regulations, and enforcement policies, and tactics concerning immigration laws have changed radically, and these changes remain very fluid. Vulnerable and at-risk immigrants, including the parents of U.S. citizen children, need a ‘safe harbor’ where they can obtain reliable, timely, accurate information and advice and a practical way to access it when they cannot afford private attorneys. Legal Aid Service of Collier County has assisted thousands of at-risk immigrants since the program was founded in 2004.
For more information about our Immigration Law Project, click here.
Other vulnerable populations need free legal services to stay safe, healthy, and to meet basic needs including shelter. These other vulnerable populations include the LGTBQ community, rural and isolated low-income seniors, and children who lack health care or whose other basic needs are unmet. Legal Aid’s Family, Consumer Protection, Victims Assistance, Housing, and Economic Stability services provide assistance to all these vulnerable populations.
Legal Aid provides immigration law assistance on the following:
- Family Unification – Visas to unify families for eligible candidates
- Citizenship – for eligible legal permanent residents
- Asylum seekers – including Unaccompanied Minors
- Human Trafficking – T Visa
- Victims of Domestic violence or other serious crimes causing physical injury – U Visa
- Temporary Protected Status – TPS
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA
- Preserving human rights – including claims under the Hague Convention
- Defense of removal – including parent/breadwinner supporting US citizen children where legal basis exists to promote stability and self-sufficiency of families and to address extreme hardship including caretakers of the disabled