MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRMPro Bono Program
2018 Pro Bono Report
2018 was the 19th year for MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM PRO BONO PROGRAM provided free legal services to immigrant women and children who are victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes, based on referrals from domestic violence shelters in Kansas and Missouri.
Business Immigration Attorneys Mira Mdivani, Danielle Atchison, Leyla McMullen, and Mason Ellis worked with women and children referred by local domestic violence shelters and assistance programs to ensure that these immigrant survivors have access to high quality legal representation in obtaining and maintaining legal status in the United States to enable them to break the cycle of violence.
2018 Pro Bono numbers and services at a glance:
China, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, El Salvador, and the Philippines
Rape, Domestic Violence, Domestic Assault, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
Free Legal Services Provided to the Survivors:
I-360 petitions based on Domestic Violence Under the Violence Against Women Act, U Visa petitions, Applications for green cards, naturalization applications, requests for replacement green cards and citizenship certificates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault
Why We Do Pro Bono Work:
“Our pro bono work allows us to use the law to empower those who would otherwise be paralyzed by it” – Mason Ellis
“We do pro bono work because we have awesome power to help return dignity to human beings.” – Mira Mdivani
“Because someone has to do it and we have the resources.” – Leyla McMullen
“I think is our duty to serve our community and those who are the most vulnerable, which are women and children. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our pro bono clients and make a difference in their lives.” – Danielle Atchison
Services for Battered Women and Children under the Violence Against Women Act:
In 2018, Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm provided free legal services to immigrant women survivors of domestic violence in applying for legal status in the United States under the Violence Against Women Act.
WHAT WE FILED ON BEHALF OF SURVIVORS:
I-360 VAWA petitions
I-485 Applications for Green cards based on VAWA petitions
I-131 Travel Documents to enable a client to see family she has not seen in several years
I-765 Employment Authorization Documents to enable our clients to work legally in the United States
I-751 petition to remove conditions on a Lawful Permanent Resident card after client left the abuser who abused her and threatened to kill her.
One survivor received a 10-year green card allowing her to permanently reside in the United States free from fear her abuser will continue to control her and their minor son.
Two survivors received work permits allowing them to create a stable life for themselves pending the outcome of their VAWA petitions and applications for green card.
U Visas and U-Based Green Cards for Victims of Violent Crimes
In 2018, we continued providing free legal services to women and children victims of crimes falling within the U Visa category. These individuals are eligible to apply for status in the United States if they are a victim of a qualifying crime and are helpful in prosecuting the perpetrator.
WHAT WE FILED ON BEHALF OF SURVIVORS:
I-918 U Visa petitions and extensions , we filed four petitions along with several petitions for derivative children of the victims
I-192 Application for Advance Parole
I-485 Application to Adjust Status for two survivors of domestic violence
I-131 Application for Travel Permission for two clients
I-765 Employment Authorization Documents for our clients to work legally in the United States for three clients, one with deferred action based on U Visa Cap
We responded to extensive Requests for Evidence for several of petitions.
USCIS approved a U Visa-based Green Card for a survivor of domestic violence.
USCIS approved two U Visa Petitions, granting a survivor of domestic violence four years of eligibility to live and work in the United States and the opportunity to file for a green card
USCIS approved several work permit applications for abused women placed in deferred action while their U Visa Petition is pending.
Our services range throughout the entire immigration process for our clients. We often jump into cases where the victim already has status but has had their evidence of status stolen, such as a green card. Stealing passports, green cards, etc. is often used by abusers to control their victims.
In 2018, we assisted a victim in applying for a green card renewal. We filed to replace her stolen card and now she can live comfortably knowing she has evidence of her lawful permanent residence.
If possible, we provide ongoing services to our pro bono clients as they become eligible. Specifically, we will work for justice for victims to gain status in the United States, then permanent residency (green card), on to U.S. citizenship. In 2008, we represented a family in U visa proceedings. In 2012, we represented them in the adjustment phase to gain permanent residency. In 2018, we represented them in their naturalization process pro bono.
We do more than just violence-based work for many of our victimized clients. If there are other avenues besided U or VAWA for them, we will advise and work on these paths as well. In 2018, we filed a family petition for an abused woman because she had US Citizen family members.
2018 HIGHLIGHT: We are also very proud of our local advocacy. Often, states and local government agencies are not privvy to the intracacies of immigration law and it results in a struggle for our clients to move through local legal systems. We are available to assist our clients in tackling these systems as well. In 2018, our attorney, Leyla McMullen advocated for a client at a local DMV to educate and demonstrate how our client was eligible for a state drivers license. After four hours of advocacy, the client walked away with her driver’s license and dignity.
In addition, we provide ongoing advice and updates throughout the year for cases filed in the past and prepare for future cases coming down the pipe.
What Our Clients & Community Partners Say:
“I have no word to say thank you 🙏. Thank you for everything. Thank you for supporting me during this bad storm. Thank you for being so concerned about my case. Thank you is just not enough.”
“Thanks so much for all your help. You are such a gift to our clients and a pleasure to work with.”
“Thank you very much Ma’am for helping me. I appreciate all your goodness. God bless!”
“Thank you for this exciting news! And for all of your work and dedication on this case.”
“Thank you very much! I am so excited! Is it okay if my family gives you guys some sort of gift? I really am appreciative and would like to show some gratitude for all of the work and time your firm has put in for us.”
–From Victim to U.S. Citizen
Community Outreach re. Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women & Children
Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm Attorneys continue to train lawyers and shelter advocates through outreach programs to educate the community about options for immigrant women and children victims of domestic violence.
They again visited a local domestic violence shelter to train over 20 advocates on how to recognize, triage, and work with attorneys on these cases.
They teach the subject at UMKC School of Law and provide continuing legal education (CLE) to practicing attorneys about the program and this area of the law.
We want to extend a special thank you to staff and leadership at Kansas City Metro area domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, including, among others, MOCSA, SAFEHOME and Hope House, for partnering with us in bringing legal status to immigrant survivors. The YWCA is another important organization we have seen assist our clients with unwavering support, and we are grateful for this organization. We also want to recognize the Missouri Coalition for Domestic and Sexual Violence for their support of many of the organizations with which we work, as well as their ongoing advocacy and support of our program. We also want to thank the U.S. companies, who are our corporate immigration clients, for doing business with our firm. We thank you for enabling our pro bono work.