Service to New York’s Immigrant Communities

By | August 23, 2019

It’s not just a legal story. It’s a human story. It’s a beautiful country. It is. For gay people, For the LGBT communities – not that beautiful. I was tortured, Tortured by the police. I had no choice; I had to leave. Immigration, detention centers, the whole police officers and I was just scared. The word is out there that if you need Quality, free civil legal services The place to go to is the New York Legal Assistance Group. Our job is to ensure
that low-income Vulnerable people are getting the
benefits and services and rights To which they’re entitled. He had been turned away for services
before, By other nonprofits. The first time that I came here, I knew that something great was gonna come out of this. I knew – I knew it. Erick is probably One of the most passionate and brave people I’ve ever met. Melissa, since the beginning, she was so Patient, you know? With me. The process of having to reclaim all of these memories and I think, relying heavily on the
services we had sent him to He felt, actually for the first time in his life Like he could see a future for himself. The staff of NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit Are world-class. These are a group of Dedicated individuals who literally work Around-the-clock to help immigrants in
need not have to live under the radar. We’re also partnered with dozens of New
York City-based law firms. On these big cases we almost
always have Pro Bono private co-counsel. And the private firms really Effectively double our ability, if not
more. We actually recently filed a case in
the Southern District of New York On behalf of individuals who Were certified for loans to attend
Wilford Beauty Academy. They filled out all the paper for me, They said I’m gonna get some scholarship Danubia was falsely certified for federal
student loans. She was getting harassed by collection agencies. They were calling me, you know, intimidating me over the phone And for over 25 years she paid $140 a month on these loans. I was unable to get a credit card, or any loans I wasn’t able to pay for my daughter, for college We think there are, you know, over 40,000
people Who are entitled to discharges of their loans But have no idea. Our goal is to use those people as
representatives of all the people In a similar situation who don’t find
their way to our office. I feel good because Now I have a lot of Doors open for me I have no amount on my back Carry that on my back. We’re partnered, currently, with over 350
different Community-based organizations. So social
workers working in these agencies Contact us on a daily basis. The collaboration between NYLAG and the Manhattan Family Justice Center deal
with legal issues, Social services issues, as well as
criminal justice system issues Right at the same place. And when people are sick, they’re not able to deal with their Legal problems that they may have.
Whether it’s family, housing, immigration. Lawyers can meet clients in the community. They can do legal intake, They can provide legal assistance We can actually pipe in a judge, online A victim of domestic violence can walk out of
our vehicle with an Order of Protection Without ever having to go to the court. Because of our holistic approach, When the client comes to us, he can get all services. To live a full life here, Not rely on benefits. He scared me, he said you’re not gonna see your daughter You’re gonna go back to Ukraine I was scared because he always said “I’m gonna deport you.” When Valentina first approached us The abuse was ongoing. I was lucky they speak Russian. This was very helpful for me It’s hard to trust people after what I went through New York Legal Assistance Group, they helped me with Immigration status. I got a U-Visa And, very important for me, authorization for work. I went to computer class, I went to English class I’m in control, so nobody’s gonna Threaten me and scare me anymore. You know what’s at stake. It’s somebody’s life, keeping a family intact,
somebody being sent to Their home country where their life may be in
danger. I think that it was my goal, to be on the side of those who need it. If I was gonna be a lawyer, I was gonna
work for the low-income people who really needed the help and couldn’t otherwise get it. We work every day with The most passionate and dedicated people
I’ve known, People who go above and beyond for the clients. And for me, at least, it means I fit right in. It’s not about a job. It’s about a way of life. One of the best things about my job is
being able to share our successes with Our partners. With foundations, and corporations, and
individuals and law firms that have donated Both time and money To support NYLAG’s efforts. Being able to go back to them, and to say Collectively, we helped over 60,000
individuals last year. In the words of the Dalai Lama, If you want to make others happy, You have to practice compassion. And I think that is why we are so successful I don’t have the words to say how helpful for me and for my daughter because I’m free now. my daughter’s next to me now. I don’t know – this saved my life! Before NYLAG, I was just another gay. But now I’m Erick. Erick the uncle, Erick the brother, Erick the husband. Thank god, you know. I knocked on this door.

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