Canada, China, Jamaica, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Kenya, and the Philippines
2020 was another great year for the MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM PRO BONO PROGRAM. This year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continued providing free legal services to immigrant women and children who are victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes, based on referrals from domestic violence shelters in Kansas and Missouri.
We want to highlight the amazing work the advocates and shelter administration/staff have done on keeping these survivors safe during this tumultuous time. The quick efforts of the shelters to relocate, considering health and confidentiality, of their residents resulted in their continued safety. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Business Immigration Attorneys Mira Mdivani, Danielle Atchison, Leyla McMullen, and Jassy Riggins, as well as law clerks, Abigail Sepich and Hadley Bybee, worked with women and children referred by local domestic violence shelters and assistance programs to ensure that these immigrant survivors have access to high quality legal representation in obtaining and maintaining legal status in the United States to enable them to break the cycle of violence.
Free Legal Services Provided to the Survivors
I-360 petitions based on Domestic Violence Under the Violence Against Women Act, U Visa petitions, Applications for green cards, Naturalization for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Services for Battered Women and Children under the Violence Against Women Act:
In 2020, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm provided free legal services to immigrant women survivors of domestic violence in applying for legal status in the United States under the Violence Against Women Act.
What We Filed On Behalf Of Survivors:
I-360 VAWA petitions
I-485 Applications for Green cards based on VAWA petitions
I-131 Travel Documents
I-765 Employment Authorization Documents to enable our clients to work legally in the United States
Two survivors received a 10-year green card allowing them to permanently reside in the United States free from fear their abusers
Two survivors filed VAWA self-petitions asking for green cards based on abuse by their US Citizen spouses
One survivor received a work permit while waiting for adjudication, giving her the ability to build a life and career for herself
One survivor filed for a renewal of her work permit while waiting on an interview date for her pending green card application
U Visas and U-Based Green Cards for Victims of Violent Crimes
In 2020, we continued providing free legal services to women and children victims of crimes falling within the U Visa category. These individuals are eligible to apply for status in the United States if they are a victim of a qualifying crime and are helpful in prosecuting the perpetrator.
What we filed on Behalf of Survivors:
I-918 U Visa petitions, for three victims and their derivative children
I-192 Application for Advance Parole
I-485 Application to Adjust Status
I-131 Application for Travel Permission
I-765 Employment Authorization Documents for our clients to work legally in the United States
We prepared several U Visa-based Green Card applications, which were approved!
USCIS approved two U Visa Petitions, granting a survivor of domestic violence four years of eligibility to live and work in the United States and the opportunity to file for a green card
USCIS approved work permit applications for abused women and their dependents and placed them in deferred action while their U Visa Petition is pending.
If possible, we provide ongoing services to our pro bono clients as they become eligible. Specifically, we will work for justice for victims to gain status in the United States, then permanent residency (green card), on to U.S. citizenship. This year, we were proud to represent three of our clients in naturalization proceedings pro bono. We have conducted analysis and foresee us filing several more next year!
Our services range throughout the entire immigration process for our clients. We often jump into cases where the victim already has status but has had their evidence of status stolen, such as a green card. Stealing passports, green cards, etc. is often used by abusers to control their victims.
What Our Pro Bono Clients Say
“…I just want to wish you a merry Christmas, thank you so much for everything you did for me you give me the best present I can ever ask for this year.”
— VAWA Client
“I am so excited for this news, l can breathe a little. It’s always at the back of my mind. Thank you all for helping and encouraging me along the way. I am excited.”
—VAWA Client upon hearing I-360 was approved
“…Miss I’m very much thankful to you for all your efforts to help me from the very beginning until now and I’m blessed to have you as my defender and I owed that from you. Thank you very much for all of what you’ve done to me.”
— VAWA Client
“Now I can finally see my mom after so many years. When I told my mom my case was approved my mom started crying and said ‘I thought I had lost you to that man and that I would never see you again.’”
— U Visa to Green Card Client
Community Outreach re. Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women & Children
Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm Attorneys continue to train lawyers and shelter advocates through outreach programs to educate the community about options for immigrant women and children victims of domestic violence.
They virtually visited a local domestic violence shelters to train advocates on how to recognize, triage, and work with attorneys on these cases.
They teach the subject at UMKC School of Law and provide continuing legal education (CLE) to practicing attorneys about the program and this area of the law.
We continued our training at Washburn Law in Topeka, Kansas, where Danielle Atchison guest taught a Domestic Violence class on working with immigration women and children survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes.
We want to extend a special thank you to staff and leadership at Kansas City Metro area domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, including, among others, MOCSA, SAFEHOME and Hope House, for partnering with us in bringing legal status to immigrant survivors. The YWCA is another important organization we have seen assist our clients with unwavering support, and we are grateful for this organization. We also want to recognize the Missouri Coalition for Domestic and Sexual Violence for their support of many of the organizations with which we work, as well as their ongoing advocacy and support of our program. We also want to thank the U.S. companies, who are our corporate immigration clients, for doing business with our firm. We thank you for enabling our pro bono work.
It Takes a Village, Want to Help?
If the situation calls for some immigration assistance outside the scope of our ability, we are very grateful to have colleagues all over Kansas and Missouri who are willing to help. If you are interested, in helping, please email DAtchison@uslegalimmigration.com.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only, it is not legal advice applicable to a specific situation. Viewing it does not create an attorney-client relationship.