HRI provides free legal services to people who have suffered human rights abuses,including
- Asylum seekers fleeing persecution based on religion, race, ethnicity, political opinion, or membership in a particular social grou
- Those protected under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Trafficking and the Violence Protection Act
- Immigrants abused by a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) spouse
- Immigrant children who are victims of violent crimes, neglect, abuse, or abandonment
HRI also provides social services to its legal clients, including:
- Community referrals to appropriate area service providers
- Job search assistance
- Workshops and group activities, including programs for youth
- Direct advocacy
- Guidance on obtaining documents and accessing benefits programs
100% of HRI clients utilizing our social services move from “at risk” to “stable” in most basic areas of need.
Please note provision of services is limited to clients living in the North Texas area.
HRI assists immigrants with representation in various immigration proceedings. We provide high quality legal services free of charge, which means we have to make tough decisions on which cases we invest our resources into. We speak Spanish; however, if you require a translator, you will need to provide your own.
Here are the types of cases we take at HRI:
Applying for Relief as a Victim of Violent Crime in the United States
An immigrant who has been the victim of a violent crime in the United States may be eligible to file a petition for a U-Visa. The client must prove:
- They have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as the direct or indirect victim of a crime.
- They possess information concerning that criminal activity; they have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to help in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
- They have a certification from a law enforcement authority certifying their aid in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.
- The criminal activity was a violent crime that occurred in the United States and violated U.S. law.
Under most circumstances, a client must apply for asylum within one year of entrance into the United States. They must be unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin due to a legitimate fear of future persecution. A person who has fled their home and come to the United States is eligible for asylum if they can prove a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more of the following grounds:
- Political opinion
- Membership in a particular social group
Relief as a Victim of Domestic Violence
An immigrant who has been the victim of physical and/or psychological abuse by a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse may be eligible to file a petition based on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The client must prove they are/have:
- Married to an abusive U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
- A person of good moral character
- In good faith marriage
- Lived with their spouse
Domestic violence survivors may be eligible to apply for a U-Visa, if their abuser is not a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident OR if the abuser and survivor were unmarried. The U-Visa’s purpose is to strengthen law enforcement agencies’ ability to detect, investigate, and prosecute violent crimes
If you are a victim of domestic violence and need immediate assistance, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233).
Relief as an Immigrant Child
An immigrant child who has been the victim of:
- Neglect, abuse, or abandonment may be eligible to receive Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
- A violent crime victim may be eligible to apply for a U-Visa. The U-Visa’s purpose is to strengthen law enforcement agencies’ ability to detect, investigate, and prosecute violent crimes.
- Physical and/or psychological abuse by a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parent may be eligible to file a petition based on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
For those who become our legal clients, HRI offers invaluable Social Services support to help clients live their day-to-day lives as they wait for their immigration case.
These issues range from little to no medical or dental care for lingering issues related to the trauma they endured, lack of access to adequate food and clothing, and no psychological counseling to process the violence they endured.
In addition, U.S. law prevents most of our clients from working as they go through the legal process. As a result, they find themselves dependent on the goodwill of generous acquaintances. Many will go without basic necessities and avoid discussing medical or psychological issues in order to avoid putting further burden on their hosts.
In addition to a client’s lack of legal status, cultural and language barriers are also an impediment. They may be turned away from a social service they could otherwise qualify for because of confusion regarding their eligibility and status, inability to clearly communicate, or inability to provide the paperwork often required to prove lack of income.
The Social Services department at HRI, therefore, was established to provide a range of services that are designed to help each client cope with the initial stress of fleeing their home country, and begin healing from the trauma they experienced. We work hard to keep our clients from falling through the cracks.
These services include:
Direct Advocacy and Guidance
HRI staff members are expert advocates in helping our clients obtain government documents, apply for government programs, and accessing community services. They assist clients in learning what they need to do, how to do it, and if needed, go with the client to assist them in their applications. With this individualized guidance, clients are not improperly turned away or denied services that they may have had trouble accessing on their own.
Essentials for Life Program
This program offers the opportunity for volunteers and donors to organize or participate in supply drives, so we may provide our clients with blankets and warm winter clothing items, as well as hygiene items such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary pads, and personal razors; and other essential supplies such as baby items.
Free Events, Classes, & Workshops
Every year, HRI staff plan social services programs and events to keep clients engaged with our agency and build connections with others outside of their legal case. Some of the free programs we offer include:
- ESL classes through Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)’s WorkReadyU program
- Job Readiness/Employment Workshop, hosted by the volunteer group InterNations
- Sporting events, including Texas Rangers baseball games and Dallas Mavs basketball games
- Holiday Party/Clothing Bazaar, where we provide a free meal and distribute free clothing, household goods, and baby items during the holiday season
Health Professionals for Human Rights
Our volunteer health professionals provide forensic medical examinations, psychological evaluations, or other services to our clients. Volunteer physicians, psychologists, and counselors can be vital to the legal process, as they often help to substantiate any physical evidence and/or psychological trauma left behind from the torture some of our clients have experienced.
For more information about our Social Services department or any of its programs, please contact our Social Services Director.
PLEASE NOTE: HRI cannot provide sponsorship, housing, or other social help to individuals or families in detention centers. We are unable to respond to these types of requests. In addition, HRI does not provide social services to anyone who is not a legal client (someone whose legal case we have already accepted after completion of our intake process).
The Holiday Wish program at HRI brings the joy of the season to our clients, many of whom are struggling and dealing with the worries and anxiety surrounding their legal cases. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, the Holiday Wish program is able to lend a hand to our neediest clients and their children through the purchase of gifts, in addition to grocery gift cards to purchase food for the holidays.
We hope you will consider participating in this worthwhile and meaningful program by sponsoring a family and shopping for one or more items on their wish list or donating so that HRI and its volunteers can shop for you. For more information on our program, as well as how to sign up, please contact us at 214-855-0520!
Human Rights Curriculum
While our focus is providing our clients with the best available legal resources in the area free of charge, we also value campaigning for our clients outside of the courtroom.
This is why HRI has developed the Human Rights Curriculum, a program focused on educating private and public schools as well as groups of people in North Texas about human rights.
If you would like to coordinate a date and time for HRI to present to your class or to come talk to your group about human rights, please contact our Volunteer Director.Contact
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