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Mayor Wu expressed her gratitude for the organizations stepping up to provide these critical services to residents. "The immigration system is complicated, and it can be difficult and expensive to get access to qualified legal help," she said. "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 with over 40% of those cases not having legal representation. The Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement has taken several initiatives in order to ensure that legal help is not limited only those who can afford it. These initiatives include Free Immigration Consultations, Citizenship Day, Dedicated Docket clinics, as well as the MOIA Expanding Access To Immigration Services Grant Program which is funded by MOIA's operating budget through March 2024.
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Monique Tú Nguyen, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement commented on the importance of providing access to qualified legal services: "When people don't have access to qualified and competent legal services they often fall prey to scams," she said. "Through supporting community organizations and advocating for better immigration policies we're finding solutions to major systematic issues in our communities."
Fifteen local organizations have been selected by MOIA as recipients of this grant program: Agencia ALPHA; Boston Adult Technical Academy; Brazilian Women's Group; Brazilian Worker Center; Centro Presente; Gilbert Albert Community Center; Greater Boston Legal Services; Immigrant Family Services Institute; International Institute of New England; Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice; Mutual Aid Eastie; Project Citizenship; Soccer Without Borders; Somali Development Center; Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice.
For more information on these services or if you are interested in applying please contact the organizations directly or visit MOIA's website at www.bostonmoia.org/grants/. This press release is also available in Chinese, Haitian Creole, Cabo Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Somali Spanish and Vietnamese languages on their website as well.
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