[Disclaimer: This site does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.]
Of note, while all the groups below are working to represent and support as many clients as possible, most immigration legal non-profits are already well beyond capacity at this time and it can be difficult for patients and families to obtain representation.
Legal Information for topics regarding:
- Asylum, Refugee, and Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ)
- Citizenship through Military Service
- Deportation, Removal, and Detention
- Discrimination For Immigration Status or National Origin
- Employment Petitions
- Family Petitions
- Permanent Residence/Green Cards
- Public Benefits for Immigrants
Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) [VAWA, U-Visa] - A service that is working to fight against injustice towards immigrants, provide them with resources to deal with current immigration laws, and advocate for issues regarding education, workers’ and immigrants’ rights, as well as economic justice and community building.
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Human Trafficking | Services & Programs - Cast LA [T-Visa] - CAST attorneys empower survivors to assert their legal rights and choose appropriate remedies to rebuild their lives. The legal services program works collaboratively with survivors, community-based organizations, public-interest attorneys and numerous government agencies to ensure survivors of human trafficking are provided culturally-sensitive, victim-centered legal representation.
ICWC Law | A California Non-Profit Immigration Service Group The Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) is a non-profit legal organization providing free and affordable immigration services to underrepresented immigrants in California and Nevada.
- You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
- If an immigration agent asks if they can search you, you have the right to say no. Agents do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause.
- If you’re over 18, carry your papers with you at all times. If you don’t have them, tell the officer that you want to remain silent, or that you want to consult a lawyer before answering any questions.
These self-help materials are designed for detainees to use in representing themselves when applying for some common forms of legal relief from removal. Please note they are written for detainees in Arizona and most were last updated in 2013, with support from the American College of Trial Lawyers Emil Gumpert Award.
The Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Campaign is dedicated to providing community-facing materials on public charge to better equip immigrants with what they need to know to make the best decision for themselves and for their families. More materials for service providers and advocates can be found at our Special Resources Page.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline is a resource for Federal employees and the public to report allegations of employee corruption, civil rights and civil liberties abuses, program fraud and financial crimes, and miscellaneous criminal and non-criminal activity associated with waste, abuse or fraud affecting the programs and operations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.
You may request DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
USCIS [United States Citizenship and Immigration Services] is currently not accepting or reviewing first-time DACA applications. Only renewals are being reviewed at this time.
- Legal orientation presentations to the adult caregivers (custodians) of unaccompanied children in EOIR removal proceedings.
- The purpose of this program is to inform the children’s custodians of their responsibilities in ensuring the child's appearance at all immigration proceedings, as well as protecting the child from mistreatment, exploitation, and trafficking, as provided under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.
- LOPC educates custodians on:
- The immigration court process and how it works
- The importance of the children’s attendance at removal hearings and consequences of failure to appear
- The forms of immigration relief available to children in removal proceedings
- The custodians’ responsibility to protect the children from mistreatment, exploitation, and human trafficking
- LOPC assists interested custodians in locating pro bono counsel for the children in their care.
- To a limited extent, the LOPC also addresses other non-legal social service needs of custodians caring for immigrant minors.
Generally, to be eligible for naturalization you must:
- Be age 18 or older; and
- Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years or 3 years, depending on how you obtained status); and
- Be a person of good moral character; and
- Have a basic knowledge of U.S. government (this, too, can be excepted due to permanent physical or mental impairment); and
- Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States; and
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English. An English proficiency test will be conducted during the interview portion.
- There are certain exceptions for someone who at the time of filing:
- Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years; or
- Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
- Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfill these requirements.
In order to become a citizen, you must:
- Submit a N-400 form;
- Go to a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment;
- Complete an interview;
- Speaking test
- Reading test
- Writing test
- Civics test
- Be approved for citizenship;
- Receive a notice to take an Oath of Citizenship; and
- Take the Oath of Citizenship.
Currently, the fee for submitting Form N-400 is $725 (form and biometrics).
Congress initially created the special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) classification to provide humanitarian protection for abused, neglected, or abandoned child immigrants eligible for long-term foster care. This protection evolved to include children who cannot reunify with one or both parents because of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law.
Juveniles in the United States and in the need of protection of a juvenile court because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent, may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification.
If SIJ classification is granted, juveniles may qualify for lawful permanent residency (Green Card).
General Qualifications for SIJS:
- Physically present in the United States
- Under the age of 21 on the date of filing the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360)
- Juvenile Court Order in the United States that meets the specific requirements
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security consent
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) consent, if applicable
Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
- A U.S. citizen parent;
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter;
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
- An LPR parent.
You must first submit a I-130 and personal declaration, and be approved under VAWA before you are able to apply for a green card. A person can petition on their own under VAWA without the knowledge of their abuser. If the I-130 is approved, they will be able to apply to work in the US.
The T nonimmigrant visa is a temporary visa that allows victims or family members of victims of human trafficking (sex trafficking and labor trafficking) to stay in the US for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. In order to be eligible, the applicant must demonstrate "unusual or severe harm" if they were to leave the US. A T visa recipient may be eligible to adjust their status for green card status.
You must first submit a I-914 and personal declaration, and be approved before you are able to apply for a green card.
If you do not feel safe receiving mail from USCIS at your current address, you may include a safe address on your application. You do not have to be living at the safe address.
The U nonimmigrant visa is set up for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. In order to be eligible, the applicant must demonstrate “substantial physical or mental abuse” as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity. Certain qualifying family members may also apply for derivative U visas.
You must first submit a I-918 and personal declaration, and be approved before you are able to apply for a green card. The U visa is valid for 4 years, although extensions are possible.
There is a limit of 10,000 U visas approved per year.
|Basta Inc - Lancaster |
333 W Broadway #204 Long Beach, CA 90802
Monday- Friday 9:00AM-6:00PM
|English, Spanish||BASTA, Inc is a non-profit organization in Southern California whose services are aimed at homelessness prevention. Dedicated to tenants' rights by providing free legal advice and free consultations. Multiple Locations.||Free||1|
|Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County Glendale Office |
1102 East Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale, CA 91205
|English, Spanish||NLSLA offers free services for housing legal issues (eviction, rent control, housing discrimination), health insurance, access to safety-net benefits, employment disputes, access to representation and court services, and bankruptcy.||Free||2|
|International Rescue Committee |
625 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale, CA 91206
Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri. 9:00AM-6:00PM Wednesday: 9:00AM-12:00PM
|English, Spanish||IRC offers assistance for the settlement of refugees, asylees, CAM AOR, citizenship and financial literacy classes.||2|
|Peace Over Violence |
1015 Wilshire Blvd #200, Los Angeles, CA 90017
|In the court and disciplinary hearings, officials often neglect to provide appropriate protections for the rights of the survivors. For sexual assault survivors, Peace Over Violence provides information about civil legal remedies and about the criminal and civil legal process as well as accompaniment to court and disciplinary hearings. The Legal Advocacy Project believes justice depends on equal access to the courts. The project works to ensure the survivors access to our courts and justice system by enabling and expanding legal assistance and representation in these cases. Also, other services include court accompaniment, pro bono representation, and legal clinics.||Free||3|
|Family Law Facilitator Office Pomona Superior Court |
400 Civic Center Plaza (Room 730) Pomona, CA 91766
Monday - Thursday: 8:30AM - 12:30PM and 1:30PM - 4:30PM Friday: 8:30AM - 12:30PM
|The office of the Family Law Facilitator assists self-represented parties with child support, spousal support and health insurance issues. The staff provides legal information and education to help parties complete their paperwork and represent themselves in their cases. The staff does not give legal advice nor does it represent a party in a case or at a hearing. There is no confidentiality or attorney-client relationship created between the office and a party.||Sliding-Scale||3|
|Immigration and Refugee Resettlement - Catholic Charities |
1530 James M. Wood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Mon-Fri : 9:00AM - 5:30PM
|English, Spanish||The Immigration and Refugee Resettlement takes on family visa applications, adjustment of status applications, consular visa processing, DACA renewals, and naturalization services. Currently, they are prioritizing cases from people that are facing deportation.||Free||4|
|El Rescate Legal Services |
1605 W. Olympic Blvd Suite 516 Los Angeles, CA 90015
Mon-Fri: 9:00AM-5:00PM Sat:10:00AM-2:00PM
|English, Spanish, K'iche||El Recate takes on family petitions, adjustment of status, appeals for INA, Asylum, Advanced Parole, cancellation of removal, change of address, Change of venue, Evidence Request response, Affidavit Support, Citizenship, Consultations, Inquiries, FOIA requests, TPS pre-registration, NACARA, Motions to Reopen, Fiancé Visa, Waivers, Residency Card Renewal, VAWA, U Visa, DACA, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas.||Sliding-Scale||4|
|California Lawyers for the Arts |
12304 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 304, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Mon-Fri 10:00AM - 5:00PM
|English, Spanish||California Lawyers for the Arts is a non-profit service organization which provides lawyer referrals, dispute resolution services, educational programs, publications and a resource library to people in the creative arts and arts organizations. Founded in 1974 by lawyers and artists, C.L.A.'s programs and services are designed to help artists understand and apply legal concepts. They cover cases including but not limited to bankruptcy, consumer, employment, health, housing, immigration, individual rights, real estate, torts, wills and estates, and arts/entertainment issues.||Sliding-Scale||5|
|Santa Monica Courthouse Self Help Center |
1725 Main St., Room 210 Santa Monica, CA 90401
Monday – Thursday 8:30AM-12:00PM and 1:30PM-4:00PM Friday 8:30AM-12:00PM
|English, Spanish||Legal information and assistance with pleadings are provided through workshops, individual assistance and user-friendly computer programs. Self-represented litigants who attend workshops or seek individual assistance have their pleadings reviewed by an attorney. They provide workshops for eviction (unlawful detainer) answers, eviction (unlawful detainer) trial prep, family law (divorce and paternity) and record expungement.||Free||5|
|USC Gould School of Law Immigration Law Clinic |
699 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089
|English, Spanish||Most of the clinic's docket of 80-90 cases involves clients seeking asylum or other forms of humanitarian protection. Students prepare and try cases in administrative hearings before immigration judges. They file appeals and draft appellate briefs when immigration court cases are appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Students also represent clients seeking different types of legal status or visas from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including applications on behalf of the survivors of domestic violence pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act, visa applications for victims of crimes and applications on behalf of certain immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as young children.||6|
|Legal Aid Foundation - South LA Office |
7000 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90003
|English, Spanish||Provides direct and other legal services for low-income Los Angeles residents. Situations they assist with: Eviction, Economic Stability, Housing, Supporting Families, Veterans Justice, Asian and Pacific Islander Community Outreach as well as Self-Help and Domestic Violence clinics. Services: Provides direct representation Offers counsel and advice Provides referrals Educates the community about their legal rights through workshops and seminars||Free||6|
|LA Center for Law and Justice |
5301 Whittier Blvd., 4th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90022
|English, Spanish||LA Center for Law and Justice offers legal services for domestic abuse and immigration; also provides free legal representation for low-income parents in high-conflict custody disputes; has free social work advocacy program to provide information, community resources, and emotional support||Sliding-Scale||7|
|Legal Aid Foundation East LA Office |
5228 Whittier Blvd, East Los Angeles, CA 90022
|English, Spanish||Provides direct and other legal services for low-income Los Angeles residents. Situations they assist with: Eviction, Economic Stability, Housing, Supporting Families, Veterans Justice, Asian and Pacific Islander Community Outreach as well as Self-Help and Domestic Violence clinics. Services: Provides direct representation Offers counsel and advice Provides referrals Educates the community about their legal rights through workshops and seminars||Free||7|
|St. Margaret Center |
10217 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304
|English, Spanish||The St. Margaret Center takes on family visa applications, adjustment of status applications, consular visa processing, DACA renewals, and naturalization services.||Free||8|
|Elite Legal |
17420 S Avalon Blvd #207, Carson, CA 90746
Mon-Thu 9:00AM–5:00PM Fri 9:00AM–3:00PM
|English, Spanish||Assists in preparing legal documentation for Family Law matters including but not limited to Divorce, Child Custody, Child Visitation, Child Support, Father’s Rights, Alimony/Spousal Support, Paternity matters, and District Attorney Child Support. Elite is supervised by an attorney who provides affordable legal representation on a flat fee basis. Their fees are reasonable and affordable. Provide payment plans can be provided if needed. They are capable of handling simple and/or complex divorce matters involving property, children/custody battles and retirement plans.||Flat Fee||8|