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The Crucial Link Between Attorneys and Clients

Legal help for immigration issues is not guaranteed or easy to find. And language barriers can make a challenging process impossibly frustrating.

Retired nonprofit executive Stephan Russo is a volunteer interpreter for the Immigration Justice Campaign’s program for people who were formerly subject to “Remain in Mexico.” People who were put into that program are trying to navigate a particularly chaotic part of a broken immigration system.

“What strikes me is that even in places where there are significant resources, immigrants feel very, very isolated and do not know where to turn to get help,” says Stephan.

“These are people who, invariably, are not familiar with the ins and outs of our complicated immigration system. Just having the system explained to them, and making sure they know their next steps – whether it's an ICE check-in, asylum hearing court date, or change of address form – is a valuable service and form of support.”

As an example, Stephan mentioned a man from Costa Rica who had been in the U.S. for a year but had no access to resources. “He didn’t know where to turn. He tried to get some help but got put on waiting lists. So just my sharing him a link where you plug in your ZIP code to find the local organizations that provide legal help, or sending the application for the I-765 form so he could apply for a work permit – you know, it’s really very specific, concrete help. So, to me, that’s the good thing about this work that makes it worthwhile to do.”

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