Help Immigrants Stay in New York

For over 140 years, The Legal Aid Society has defended the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. Today, we are proud to stand among a growing community of advocates and activists who are pushing back on the Trump administration's actions that threaten the livelihood and stability of immigrant families across the city. From our campaign to keep ICE out of the courts to our defense of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents, we remain steadfast in defense of the rights of all immigrants - regardless of where they come from.

As a provider of wraparound legal and support services for New York City's most vulnerable, The Legal Aid Society understands that the needs of our clients extend beyond legal assistance. 

For clients of The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit, the cost to file immigration applications can be a heavy burden with fees averaging around $750 per person. This is an unbelievable ask for anyone, but especially for marginalized immigrants who struggle with covering day-to-day expenses for their families. Your support of this campaign will have a direct impact, helping to keep immigrant New Yorkers at home with their families.

Throughout this campaign, we will provide updates on our progress. Our goal of $25,000 will allow us to serve up to 35 New Yorkers - people like JR.

JR is a young client who was abused by her father. Because of the abuse, she qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), for which we helped her to apply. Her case was wrongfully denied by USCIS. Although the error was clear, she still needed to file an appeal in order to vindicate her rights. Unfortunately, the $675 filing fee was beyond her ability to pay. With the assistance of our fund, we were able to file the appeal and reverse the erroneous denial. JR is now on the road to obtaining permanent residence (a green card).

About U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Filing Fees

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges filing fees for most applications. These fees can be high, and most cannot be waived: $1,760 to seek a green card through a family member, $725 for citizenship, $540 to renew a green card, $410 to renew a work permit, and $930 for a victim of a violent crime to seek relief (technically called a ‘waiver of grounds of inadmissibility’). 

For the few applications for which fees can be waived, USCIS has begun indiscriminately rejecting fee waiver requests. Even worse, the federal government earlier this week published new regulations that also appears to be on the verge of publishing new rules that would make receipt of means-tested public benefits (one of the traditional bases for seeking a fee waiver) much riskier than before.  For these reasons, Legal Aid has been helping our immigrant clients, who are all low-income, with the payment of these fees. But we need your help.

You read more about the Trump administration's new regulation here.

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