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

Impressionist Hero Édouard Manet Gets The Star Treatment In Los Angeles

Manet was not himself an Impressionist, but he mightily influenced the movement. Two of his paintings are now in L.A. The Railway is making its West Coast debut, and Spring just sold for $65 million.
NPR

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.
NPR

Jeb Bush Takes 2016 Show Into Unfriendly Territory At CPAC

Bush has appeared almost exclusively before friendly audiences since leaving the Florida governorship eight years ago, but today he faces a crowd of conservative activists.
NPR

'Ballot Selfies' Clash With The Sanctity Of Secret Polling

New Hampshire is the first state to outlaw voting booth selfies. Some call the ban unconstitutional and are challenging it in court. Others argue selfies compromise privacy and enable voter coercion.

Leave a Comment

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