: News

Legal Aid Merger Affects Undocumented Immigrants

Play associated audio

By Mana Rabiee

A new merger of Virginia's two largest legal aid societies means some who once qualified for free legal advice will have to go elsewhere.

At the Arlington branch of Legal Services of Northern Virginia -- or LSNV -- a paralegal helps a client with his court warrant.

The organization just merged with the Potomac Legal Aid Society.

The restructuring means LSNV will now get federal funding but guidelines prohibit the money from being used to assist undocumented immigrants.

Andrea Bridgeman was President of Potomac Legal. She says it's unclear how many people LSNV will turn away.

"They didn't ask questions about citizenship or residency or so on so it was always difficult to get a grip on which of their clients would not be eligible for federal service," says Bridegman.

A spokesman for the quasi-governmental organization that now funds LSNV says he doesn't believe any undocumented immigrants will go unassisted because plans are underway to refer those people to a separate organization.

Bridgeman questions whether the organization will have the resources to service all of them.

Back in Arlington, the paralegal translates for her client who does qualify under the merger but wonders where he would go if didn't.

"I don't know, I don't know my options. I don't know maybe where I could go," he says.

The LSNV will continue to service victims of domestic violence no matter what their immigration status might be.

WAMU 88.5

Colson Whitehead On The Importance Of Historical Fiction In Tumultuous Times

Kojo talks with author Colson Whitehead about his new novel "The Underground Railroad" and its resonance at this particular moment in history.

NPR

Whales, Sea Turtles, Seals: The Unintended Catch Of Abandoned Fishing Gear

An endangered whale was found dead over the weekend, entangled in derelict fishing gear. Such incidents have been on the rise in recent years. A new California law aims to combat the problem.
WAMU 88.5

Rating The United States On Child Care

A majority of parents in the U.S. work outside the home. That means about 12 million children across the country require care. A new report ranks states on cost, quality and availability of child care - and says nobody is getting it right.

NPR

Tech Giants Team Up To Tackle The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM form a group to set the first industrywide best practices for the technology already powering many applications, such as voice and image recognition.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.