Legal Aid Merger Affects Undocumented Immigrants | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: 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.

NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

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