Permissibility of Providing Legal Services to Noncitizen Parents and Noncitizen Guardians of Children Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

August 26, 2016 The Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) General Counsel issued an Advisory Opinion confirming that legal services agencies receiving funding from LSC may represent noncitizen parents/guardians of noncitizen children who have suffered battering, extreme cruelty, sexual assault, human trafficking or other U visa-listed criminal activities. The legal assistance provided must be directly related to […]

[pdf] Legal Services Access for All: Implementing the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (+)

Provides information about the improved accessibility to representation for immigrant crime victims by Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) funded programs that was created by the Anti-Abuse LSC regulations and policies issued in 2014. The article is published in National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Cornerstone Magazine (January-April 2015). The pdf includes a second article on the need for pro bono representation of immigrant children.

[pdf] LSC Cover Letter AO 2016-002 (Revised) (+)

Cover letter from Legal Services Corporation General Counsel updating Advisory Opinion 2016-002’s revision. This cover letter informs LSC programs about this advisory opinion allowing LSC funded agencies to represent non-citizen parents and guardians of abused noncitizen children in cases that benefit the noncitizen abused child. The principal revision is to clarify that LSC is using the term “guardian” to refer to individuals who have custody of and responsibility for the child in question, regardless of whether that individual is the child’s court-appointed guardian or custodian.

[pdf] HUD Cover to HUD, HHS, and DOJ Joint Letter Regarding Immigrant Access to Housing and Ser (+)

This letter reiterates long standing federal policies that immigrants cannot be denied access to certain services necessary to protect life and safety based on their immigration status.

This letter reiterates that immigrants experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking or human trafficking may not be turned away on the basis of immigration status from life and safety services including but not limited to emergency shelters, and short-term housing assistance (including transitional housing and rapid re-housing), crisis counseling and intervention, soup kitchens, community food banks, and medical and public health services.

Importantly, this Tri-Agency letter describes the non-discrimination requirements that apply to all federal grantees and the application of these protections to cases involving immigrants.

[pdf] Advisory Opinion 2016-002: Providing Legal Services for Children Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (+)

Advisory Opinion 2016-002: Permissibility of Providing Legal Services to Noncitizen Parents and Noncitizen Guardians of Children Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. LSC funded programs may represent noncitizen parents and, in some instances, noncitizen guardians of noncitizen children subjected to battery, extreme cruelty, sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking or other U-visa-listed activities, as long as the legal assistance is directly related to obtaining relief from the abuse for the child. Proceedings in which noncitizen parents or guardians petition for SIJS on behalf of their noncitizen children are proceedings directly related to obtaining relief from the abusive situation for the child.

[pdf] Legal Services Corporation: Program Letter 14-3 (+)

LSC issued a Program Letter to provide guidance to recipients in light of the recent influx of non-citizens into the United States from Central America on when children are eligible for representation by an LSC funded legal services program under LSC’s Anti-abuse regulations.

[pdf] LSC Proposed Regulation: Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Immigrants (2013) (+)

This proposed rule updates the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) regulation on legal assistance to immigrants. The proposed rule implements the Violence Against Women Act of (VAWA)2005 by creating a new anti-abuse path to legal representation by LSC funded agencies. This is the first update of the Legal Services regulations since 1997 and should be read together with the final regulations. These proposed rules, and their preamble, are an important part of the regulatory history of legal services access for immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other U visa criminal activities.

[pdf] Report to the Legal Services Corporation: Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Human Trafficking and Access to Legal Services (+)

This article contains a report on the legislative and regulatory history and evolution of access to legal services available to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking from Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funded agencies. It also contains the results of a national survey conducted by NIWAP that sought to document the extent to which immigrant victims were being turned away from LSC funded agencies despite the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2005 amendments and implementing LSC policies (2006). This report was submitted to LSC and led to the issuance of LSC regulations creating a new “anti-abuse” path to LSC funded representation for immigrant crime victims through 2014 regulations and policies.

[pdf] LSC Memorandum Regarding Hague Convention Cases (+)

Memorandum from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to all its grantees confirming that LSC grantees have the statutory and regulatory authority to represent eligible foreign nationals in Hague Convention cases (compelling the return of a child from one member nation to another) brought in United States courts. This authority extends to foreign nationals residing abroad.

[pdf] LSC Program Letter 06-2: Violence Against Women Act 2006 Amendments (+)

Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) Program Letter providing guidance on the significant changes impacting both client eligibility for services as well as use of LSC funds to represent immigrant crime victims pursuant to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) of 2005. VAWA 2005 explicitly expands the scope of services that LSC grantees can provide to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and certain other crimes, regardless of their immigration status. The VAWA 2005 Amendments authorize LSC grantees to provide services to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and other U visa listed crimes beginning January 5, 2006.

[pdf] LSC Statutory Amendments: Violence Against Women Act Public Law 109-162 (+)

Electronic Version of VAWA 2005 Section 104 (Public Law 109-162) creating statutory amendments granting immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other U visa criminal activities access to legal assistance from LSC funded programs without regard to the victim’s immigration status.

[pdf] Section 104 VAWA 2005 Introduced: Ensuring Immigrant Crime Victim’s Access to Legal Service (+)

Text of the Amendment introduced by Senator Durbin became Section 104 of Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) of 2005. The Amendment permits programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) to use LSC funds or funds derived from a source other than the LSC to provide legal assistance to immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or trafficking, consistent with VAWA and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

[pdf] Appendix to Regulations: Alien Eligibility for Representation by LSC-Funded Programs (+)

This appendix to 45 C.F.R. 1626 is a table outlining an immigrant’s eligibility for representation by Legal Services Corporation funded programs based on her status. The document also indicates the statutory and regulatory authority for its determinations, as well as the requisite list of verification documents that the immigrant would need for service provision.

[pdf] Offering a Helping Hand: Legal Protections for Battered Immigrant Women: A History of Legislative Responses (+)

This article chronicles the legislative history of immigration protections afforded immigrant crime victims in the Violence Against Women Acts (VAWA) of 1994 and 2000, through the Battered Spouse Waiver, and through VAWA Confidentiality, the history and development of the VAWA self-petition, VAWA cancellation of removal, the battered spouse waiver, any credible evidence standard, VAWA confidentiality, benefits access for battered immigrant VAWA self-petitioners and cancellation/suspension applicants, the U-Visa, victim’s ability to obtain lawful permanent residency in the U.S. and Legal Services Corporation funded legal assistance are discussed in detail. This article collects and publishes information contained in documents developed during advocacy that led to the passage of federal immigration law legislation creating each of these protections.

[pdf] LSC Testimony: Unmet Needs of Domestic Violence Victims for Legal Services (+)

Testimony given by Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) Chairman, Vice Chairman, and President before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee. The testimony uses empirical data to discuss the importance of access to legal services for domestic violence victims and their children.

[pdf] LSC Finalizes “Kennedy Amendment” Provisions (+)

This article was published in “Interpreter Releases” and reports on Legal Services Corporation’s (“LSC”) issuance of final regulations implementing the 1996 Kennedy Amendments. The Kennedy Amendment allow LSC funded agencies to use their non-LSC funds to represent victims of domestic abuse who would otherwise be ineligible to receive assistance because of their immigration status.

[pdf] 1997 LSC Kennedy Amendment Regulations (+)

This final rule revises the Legal Services Corporation’s (“LSC”) rules regarding representation of immigrants. The revisions implement a statutory provision included in the Corporation’s FY 1997 appropriations act, which permits the use of a recipient’s non-LSC funds for legal assistance to otherwise ineligible immigrants who are the victims of domestic abuse.

[pdf] Comments to LSC Interim Rule on Battered Immigrant Access to LSC Funded Representation (+)

Ayuda’s public comments on interim final Legal Services Corporation’s (“LSC”) regulations on the “Kennedy Amendment,” on the definition of battery and extreme cruelty, and the definition of directly related legal assistance. These comments applaud the interim regulations recognition regarding the importance of confidentiality when working with victims of family violence. The comments also highlight gaps in the underlying legislation that need to be addressed by future legislation.

[pdf] LSC Program Letter 96-4: New Restrictions on LSC Grantees (+)

This Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) Program Letter informs legal services agencies receiving LSC funds of restrictions on allowable representation and the use of non-LSC Funds to represent battered immigrants under the Kennedy Amendment. The letter also discusses restrictions on Class Actions, Redistricting, and Representations in Certain Eviction Proceedings.

[pdf] Comments to LSC Interim Rule on Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Immigrants (+)

Ayuda’s comments on interim Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) regulations implementing the Kennedy Amendment in the Appropriations Bill of Fiscal Year 1997, which allows LSC to provide assistance to immigrant victims of domestic violence using non-LSC funds in matters “directly related” to prevent, or obtain relief from, battery or extreme cruelty. The comments provide a detailed discussion of the types of legal assistance that should be considered “directly related” to the abuse in the final regulation.

[pdf] House of Representatives: Commerce Justice State Appropriations Report 1996 (+)

The Committee Report from the House Appropriations Committee providing legislative history on the FY 1997 Appropriations Bill discussing appropriations for the Departments of commerce, Justice, and State, the judiciary, and related agencies. Contains legislative history of the Kennedy Amendment.

[pdf] Survey Findings. Effects of Legal Services Cuts and Welfare Reform on Battered Women (+)

Findings of a survey conducted by Ayuda, Inc., in which thirty state domestic violence coalitions were interviewed on the importance of legal services and welfare for battered women and their children. This research was submitted to Congress as part of the efforts to secure the Kennedy Amendments to Legal Services restrictions for battered immigrants and access to public benefits for VAWA self-petitioners in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

[pdf] Statement of Senator Edward Kennedy: Legal Services Kennedy Amendment to Exempt Battered Immigrants from LSC Funding Restrictions (+)

Senator Kennedy’s speech to the Senate Appropriations Committee Markup in support of amendments to the Appropriations Act that would exempt battered immigrants from Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) funding restrictions based on legal status.