Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA) have announced that the city is awarding $711,000 in grants to 15 nonprofits to expand access to immigration services. The grants range from $5,000 to $90,000 for programs including Know Your Rights training, forms assistance, and legal consultation and representation.
“The immigration system is complicated, and it can be difficult and expensive to get access to qualified legal help,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to these organizations for stepping up to provide these critical services to our residents.”
Immigration legal services are expensive and there is often not enough capacity for organizations and lawyers to take new cases. In the 2022 federal fiscal year, there were more than 13,000 immigration court proceedings and over 40% did not have legal representation. Building on the Mayor’s commitment to ensure Boston is a city for everyone, these grants are part of several initiatives by the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement to make sure legal help is not limited to only residents who can afford it and to find innovative ways to expand much needed resources. Additional MOIA-led initiatives include Free Immigration Consultations, Citizenship Day, and Dedicated Docket clinics.
“When people don’t have access to qualified and competent legal services, they often fall prey to scams,” said Monique Tú Nguyen, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. “Through supporting community organizations and advocating for better immigration policies, we're finding solutions to major systematic issues in our communities.”
Fifteen local organizations are selected to receive funding from the MOIA Expanding Access to Immigration Services Grant. They are:
Agencia ALPHA: Funding will expand capacity to provide immigration legal services.
Boston Adult Technical Academy: The organization will support immigrant students by providing legal consultations from an immigration attorney.
Brazilian Women’s Group: The organization will support their members by providing an immigration attorney to give guidance in immigration cases and the new driver’s license law.
Brazilian Worker Center: The grant will expand their current immigration support for recently arrived Brazilian immigrants.
Centro Presente: The organization will increase their capacity to provide legal consultation clinics and share Know Your Rights material for recent arrivals.
Gilbert Albert Community Center: Funding will pilot on-site events dedicated to legal services.
Greater Boston Legal Services: The grant will provide brief legal services to recent arrivals.
Immigrant Family Services Institute: The organization will provide immigration legal services to recently arrived Haitian immigrants.
International Institute of New England: Funding will allow asylees and refugees to apply for permanent residency.
Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice: The organization will take new cases for asylum seekers in Boston Immigration Court.
Mutual Aid Eastie: Funding will be used to train community members to help residents get driver’s licenses starting in July 2023.
Project Citizenship: The grant will help permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship with a disability waiver.
Soccer Without Borders: Funding will provide Know Your Rights sessions to participants.
Somali Development Center: The organization will enroll staff in immigration law training for Department of Justice recognition and accreditation.
Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice: The funds will be used to train students to support attorneys with asylum cases.
These grants are funded by MOIA’s operating budget and are being used through March 2024. For more information and interest in these services, please contact the organizations directly.