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Immigration Outreach Project

Immigration Intake Line: 212.382.6710


History of the Immigrant Outreach Project

The Immigrant Outreach Project (IOP) began in 2007 when the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP created the Fragomen Fellowship to head the project in an effort to increase outreach to immigrants in dire need of pro bono legal services. Since its inception, the Immigrant Outreach Project has assisted over 2,600 immigrants in New York City. Of that number, 1,600 received direct services through a clinic setting.

The Immigrant Outreach Project has a rich programmatic history due to the ever-changing landscape of immigration policy and community needs. IOP hosts presentations and workshops for an array of groups including foreign consulates, local universities, non-profit organizations and churches. It also partners with community-based organizations to host free legal clinics including general immigration and naturalization clinics, and to conduct “Know Your Rights” and “Immigration 101” presentations to the CBOs’ constituents. Partners include the Children’s Aid Society, the Mirabel Sisters School in Washington Heights, and N.I.C.E. in Jackson Heights.

In addition to providing free legal services to poor and low-income immigrants, the IOP creates opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their time and expertise. Since 2007, the IOP has trained 550 non-immigration attorneys to volunteer at immigration clinics. Those volunteers are then mentored by the IOP staff and work with immigration experts on the more complicated cases.

Current Immigrant Outreach Project Initiatives

Currently, the cornerstone projects of the IOP are the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Project and the New York City Immigrant Advocacy Initiative (NYCIAI) Clinics.

DACA Project

The IOP adapted quickly to the August 2012 implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Within a month, the IOP trained over 200 attorneys on how to complete the DACA applications and then, in the following months, hosted six DACA clinics staffed by the newly trained attorneys under the supervision of IOP staff and a group of immigration experts. To date, the IOP has screened and assisted over 100 youth with their DACA applications. Over 130 attorneys have volunteered at the DACA clinics, including over fifty immigration attorneys. The DACA clinic format is extremely rigorous to ensure that clients receive the best services possible. At the start of the DACA clinics, immigration experts screen clients for several forms of immigration relief in order to ensure DACA is the best available remedy. Once deemed DACA eligible, the applicant works with a team of attorneys to complete his or her application. The applicant then sits with another immigration expert who reviews the application again.

In addition to hosting clinics, the IOP has recruited attorneys and/or provided technical assistance to a number of non-profits and bar associations interested in hosting their own DACA clinics. Organizations that the IOP has assisted include Make the Road New York, The New York Immigration Coalition, New York Department of State’s Office for New Americans, Pace Community Law Center, Richmond Bar Association, Puerto Rican Bar Association, and Dominican Bar Association. Through these efforts, the IOP has indirectly assisted over 330 immigrants seeking DACA-related assistance.

New York City Immigrant Advocacy Initiative Clinics

In 2007, the IOP collaborated with the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to launch the New York City Immigrant Advocacy Initiative (NYCIAI).  The goal of this initiative was to address the many legal education and services issues faced by New York City’s immigrant population through general immigration clinics.  Since its inception, the NYCIAI clinics have assisted over 1,000 community members and have had over 350 attorneys participate in clinics. At the clinics, clients are given free 20 to 30 minute advice-only consultations with trained attorneys about their various immigration concerns. The volunteer attorneys are not obligated to take on cases, but will refer the clients to low cost or free immigration service providers, if necessary. The NYCIAI training and clinics provide a wonderful avenue for attorneys to volunteer in communities throughout New York and learn about immigration law.

The IOP has partnered with numerous organizations, such as the Church of Mt. Zion (East Flatbush, Brooklyn), the Children’s Aid Society in the Bronx and Harlem, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College, to host the NYCIAI clinics.

How to Volunteer

If you would like to learn about future volunteer trainings and opportunities with our various projects, please submit this form.