Metrowest Legal Services –Immigraton
MWLS’s Immigration Unit serves immigrants by helping them to secure a permanent immigration status in the United States and keep their families together. MWLS helps immigrant adult and juvenile survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes to apply for immigration statuses in the United States.
Specifically, MWLS’s Immigration Unit represents immigrants before the Immigration Court and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the following types of cases:
- Applications for Asylum based on fear of persecution on account of political opinion, religion, national origin, race, and/or particular social group such as members of the LGBTQ community and individuals who have suffered domestic violence, sexual assault and other similar crimes in the immigrant’s country of origin.
- Petitions for eligible immigrant juveniles who are under twenty-one (21) years old and who have been abused, abandoned and/or neglected by their parent(s).
- Self-Petitions for immigrant spouses, children and parents of abusive U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents under the Violence Against Women Act. (VAWA)
- U Visa petitions for victims of certain crimes in the United States, including domestic violence and sexual assault.
- T Visa petitions for victims of human trafficking in the United States.
- Other forms of humanitarian immigration benefits such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (DACA)
We can also help with issues involving:
- Asylum and refugee status
- Juveniles under twenty one (“21”) years old fleeing violence in their home country and coming to the United States without their parents (unaccompanied minors)
- Adjustment of Status (“Greencard” applications)
- Family reunification
- Removal defense before the Immigration Court
In addition to direct representation services, the Immigration Unit conducts outreach to and maintains relationships with community based organizations that serve low income immigrants in the Metrowest area. Our immigration advocates provide “Know Your Rights” trainings and on-going immigration legal clinics to immigrant and community based organizations.
Immigrants who are eligible for MWLS’s Services and who are seeking legal assistance with their own immigration process may call MWLS for an intake at (508) 620-1830. All of MWLS legal services are free to eligible individuals.
Mass Legal Help
There may be other free resources available. Check the Links section on our website to find information specific to your legal problem.
No. Due to budget and staffing constraints, not everyone gets access to a MWLS lawyer. Many clients are given advice only or brief service, or are referred to another agency if their legal problem does not fall within our priorities. MWLS has a Pro Bono panel where private lawyers in the community volunteer to accept cases within our program priorities. Applicants must still meet the same financial guidelines as MWLS in-house services. Referrals for pro bono services are made through our office.
If you are over-income, you may contact the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service or the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. You will be referred to an attorney convenient to your home or office, practicing in the area of law you need.
Yes. MWLS has staff fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as well as access to interpreters for clients who speak other languages.
No. MWLS provides these services free of charge.
An intake is a call or in-person meeting with MWLS staff to provide more detail your legal problem. Your information is then given to the appropriate advocate who will then contact you directly.
An intake worker will conduct a screening interview over the phone. We collect basic information during these screening interviews to help us confirm whether you are eligible and if we can help.
All information that you give us, either online, in person, or by phone, is kept confidential.
At Apply for Legal Help, our eligibility form is easy to use! If you are eligible for our services, you will be contacted by an intake worker who will conduct an intake to get more detailed information about you and your legal problem.
If for some reason the online form is not an option, call our office at 508-620-1830 or 1-800-696-1501 to be screened for eligibility.
Our services are available to residents who live in the communities we serve, meet our income guidelines, and whose requests for help fall within the priorities listed in our programs.
MWLS seeks to make legal services available to as many clients as possible. These services may be limited to advice only because we do not have enough staff to handle all of the requests.
If you are not eligible for our services, we may be able to refer you to other agencies or resources who can help you.
If you are a senior citizen, aged 60 or older, a victim of crime or the survivor of a homicide victim there are no income eligibility guidelines to receive our services.
See Eligibility for more details.
We provide services exclusively in civil (non-criminal) matters. Because we do not have the resources to handle every eligible client’s case, our staff must choose those cases in which our representation will have a significant impact on the client. Our priority cases include:
· Public Benefits (including unemployment)
· Elder Law
· Health Care Access
· Domestic Violence
· Immigration Assistance for Victims of Abuse
· Advocacy for Victims of Crime
For a detailed description of the types of cases we handle, see Get Legal Help.