IRIS Legal Services Department
Legal Practice Area:
Citizenship and Immigration
Why is this assistance important to these clients?
Without this assistance, clients’ security to remain in the United States is in jeopardy and reunification with their families is thwarted.
What legal problem do these clients face?
Refugees and other displaced individuals need assistance with applications for lawful permanent residence status and naturalization to become United States citizens. They need assistance with family reunification - filing petitions for family members, such as spouses and children, to join them in the United States. In addition, refugees and other displaced persons need help with routine matters such as travel documents, replacement of lost cards, and delays in the application processes.
What legal strategies do the pro bono lawyers use to assist the clients?
IRIS pro bono attorneys represent clients before the USCIS and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Representation involves client interviews, investigation, research, preparation of applications, petitions, motions, appeals, USCIS client interviews, and administrative appeals.
What are the outcome goals of this assistance?
The goals are to advance the clients’ residence and citizenship status in the United States and to reunite families.
Give a short (1-paragraph) case example:
IRIS refugee family members want to naturalize as United States Citizens. The pro bono attorney must interview family members and investigate whether there are any potential problems such as length of residence in the United States; insufficient ability to speak, write, and read English; difficulty with taking the civics test; parentage and legitimation issues; acquisition and derivative citizenship claims; criminal history; residency interruption; good moral character issues; etc.… Pro bono attorney will research and explore any impediments to naturalization; advise clients; prepare applications and file appearances; respond to any Requests for Further Evidence; attend the naturalization interview/tests at USCIS with clients; and consider appeal of any denial.